What if Improving Health Tech Could Actually Improve Our Health: A Review from the European Microwave Week 2019

The latest technology is usually a luxury only for the wealthy. The moderately priced microwave imaging will make new diagnostic tools accessible for everyone.

October 29, 2019 | Exhibitions and conferences
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Technology has always been a driver for well-being and its development has had a strong correlation with life expectancy. From early inventions such as toilets and pasteurization to antibiotics and vaccines, life has prolonged year by year, decade by decade. On average, we nowadays live to see 70 – compared to a global life expectancy of 29 in 1850.

Every technological innovation enables new innovations and one thing leads to another, even in a very different field. The commercial success of telecommunications has helped many other fields by developing, e.g., management practices, service platforms and hardware. Especially advances in hardware have allowed Health Tech applications to become commercially available. Wearables, sensors and remote patient monitoring are currently boosting the sector where we anticipate seeing large growth in the future. One cornerstone of this development is the increased use of microwaves.

To follow this development and get a glimpse of new applications, we visited the nearly 50-year old European Microwave Week in Paris this autumn. And for a good reason, as it turned out. Compared to last year, the number of sessions dedicated to Health Tech had doubled, with topics on different types of biomedical sensors and imaging.

One of the most relevant topics was microwave and millimeter wave imaging, which have a very important role in fighting cancer.

The key is early detection.

When the tumor is detected early, it responds more effectively to treatment and the treatment is less expensive. And most importantly – cancer mortality is reduced. One of the keys to early detection is accurate imaging.

Old school methods, such as CT scans (X-ray) and MRI are associated with drawbacks such as radiation exposure, low resolution and high costs. The examination might also be rather painful. Luckily, microwave imaging does not share these limitations.

In this year’s edition of the European Microwave Week, many different research groups from Sichuan University (China), National Institute of Technology (Japan), LEAT (France), City University of Hong Kong, Michigan State University and McMaster University (Canada) presented papers in microwave imaging. The papers demonstrated ways to improve microwave imaging by achieving high-quality real-time images and detecting various kinds of tumors reliably. Early results show that the potential is there, and so is the demand from the market.

Presentation by  J. Crezee, Uni. Amsterdam: Combining 70MHz and 434MHz or wIRA Hyperthermia Applicators for Optimal Coverage of Semi-Deep Tumour Sites. EuMC10 Session at the EuMW 2019.

Looking at the future from our customers’ perspective, the commercialization is already in the horizon. And this, ladies and gentlemen, is the final step to make new technology accessible for us all.

When commercialization of microwave imaging is truly reached, the health of the common man will once again take a big leap as suggested by the title.

At Premix, we practice what we preach. Our company purpose states: Creating a safe and ultra-connected society. Developing new solutions for the Health Tech industry is perfectly in line with this.

Dr. Jan Järveläinen

Business Development Manager, D.Sc. (Tech)
I take care of new business opportunities, such as 5G, radars and EMI shielding, and try to solve challenges related to customer applications. I am also passionate about material measurements, tech blogging and marketing. Previously I have worked as a researcher at Aalto University studying mmWave propagation for 5G scenarios.

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