The latest medical gadgets at U.S. tech show

Person wearing device extending from side of head to nose (© John Locher/AP)
An exhibitor at the CES 2023 tech show in Las Vegas wears the OVR Technology ION 3 device, which adds scent to virtual experiences and, according to the company, opens new possibilities in health care. (© John Locher/AP)

A breath test to detect COVID-19 and a device that warns people before they get dehydrated were among the latest medical technologies unveiled at one of the world’s largest tech shows.

More than 3,200 exhibitors representing 170 countries attended CES, formerly known as the Consumer Electronics Show, held January 5–8 in Las Vegas to display some of the latest innovations.

Here are a few of the U.S. innovations in the medical field.

COVID-19 breath analyzers

Breath analyzer device held up by woman (Courtesy of Opteev)
ViraWarn is a breath analyzer that the company says detects certain viruses. (Courtesy of Opteev)

Opteev Technologies of Baltimore says its breath analyzer, ViraWarn, in less than 60 seconds detects COVID-19, influenza and the infection known as RSV (for respiratory syncytial virus).

Rather than taking nasal swabs, a person turns on the device  and breathes twice into the mouthpiece, and a light will indicate a positive or negative result.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is currently reviewing the technology, which is not yet available.

Dehydration alarms

Image of device and phone app overlaid on photo of blacksmith wearing device and wiping sweat (Courtesy of Epicore)
Connected Hydration computes personalized hydration recommendations, with dehydration alerts based on direct and continuous measurements of sweat loss. (Courtesy of Epicore)

Connected Hydration is an electronic wearable device that measures sweat fluid and electrolyte loss while monitoring skin temperature and motion.

Consisting of a flexible wearable patch, a mobile application and a cloud engine, the device sounds an alarm and vibrates when a wearer’s fluid loss exceeds 2% of body weight to prevent dehydration.

Its maker, Epicore, of Cambridge, Massachusetts, says the device can help people working in extreme heat or harsh conditions, such as in construction, mining, agriculture, trucking and warehouse packaging, as well as athletes. Severe dehydration can cause serious damage to a person’s kidneys, heart and brain.

Innovations in sensors

Somalytics, based in Redmond, Washington, says its sensors, developed by University of Washington researchers, can detect the presence of human tissue up to 20 centimeters away.

Woman wearing sleep mask, lying down with pillow under her head (Courtesy of Marcus Donner/Somalytics)
Somalytics’ SomaSleep sleep mask allows people to track all stages of sleep at home. (Courtesy of Marcus Donner/Somalytics)

The technology is used in the SomaSleep mask, in which the sensors track eye movements that detect when people are in the stage of rapid eye movement (REM) while sleeping at home. REM sleep is important for learning and memory.

In November 2022, Hyundai also showed how similar sensors demonstrate the latest generation of touchless technology: door handles that open with just a gesture.

‘Cuffless’ blood pressure monitor

Black digital fingertip device with button and screen (Courtesy of Valencell)
The Valencell fingertip device measures blood pressure. (Courtesy of Valencell)

Valencell, of Raleigh, North Carolina, launched a new way to measure blood pressure without wrapping an inflatable cuff around your arm. The company’s fingertip device, lightweight and portable, aims to simplify the way people measure and manage chronic diseases like hypertension.

The technology, which captures and tracks blood pressure readings with the help of a mobile app, is pending FDA approval and currently unavailable for sale.

Scent innovations

Vermont-based startup OVR Technology says adding scent to virtual experiences opens new possibilities in health care. The company says some hospitals, clinics and rehabilitation facilities already use scents to help manage the effects of pain, stress and anxiety, including that of burn patients.

At CES, the company launched a new wearable device with a cartridge that produces scents, designed for virtual reality technology.