Biosensors/Secrets of Superhero Science at Physics at Veldhoven

It’s March 1st. Where did January and February go? Time flies when you’re working working.

Yesterday I managed to see a pre-screening of Logan in Eindhoven. I won’t delving into the film right now (I’ll do that at a later date) but all I’ll say is that both Jackman and Patrick Stewart were impeccable in the film, a testament to their portrayal of these two famous X-Men characters.

Back in January (seems like a long time ago now) I presented a series of experiments at Physics@Veldhoven, a huge conference for all of the physics researchers in the Netherlands. These experiments were all superhero-themed and the photographer for the event took some quite memorable photos from the event. Over the next few days I’ll be sharing some of the images with you and giving a brief overview of the experiments that were presented. For each experiment BW Science linked up with a  business or university in the Netherlands to present their work with a tangible link to superheroes.

First up it’s biosensors. The Iron Man suit is one of the greatest inventions in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). It is the ultimate wearable technology and allows Tony Stark, the inventor and principle wearer, to fly and fire weapons as he desires. In addition to being an incredible suit, it is also makes use of advanced biosensors that monitors Stark’s bodily functions round-the-clock.

The vision of personalised medicine is that of miniature biosensors for personal sensing near, on, or inside the body. SensUs, a competition organised by students at TU Eindhoven, has the aim of stimulating innovation in biosensing worldwide. The first competition took place in 2016 during which five teams developed biosensors to monitor creatinine, a waste product biomarker that is normally filtered by the kidneys, in the blood. Team T.E.S.T. from TU Eindhoven took part in the competition and went home with one of the competition awards. It was a fantastic competition and as Master of Ceremonies for the final in September 2016 I sampled the event firsthand.

For my Physics@Veldhoven experiments members of the T.E.S.T. team and Menno Prins of TU Eindhoven brought along there ingenious biosensor to display, a biosensor smaller than a smartphone and one that can be connected to a smartphone to give a digital interpretation of the biological data. The development of devices like this can have huge benefits for health care in the future. But it might also hold the key towards the development of biosensors for a future Iron Man-like suit.


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