Medical technology, or MedTech, brings solutions to improve lives using the latest advancements in technology. It is an evolving concept that combines innovative, high technologies such as artificial intelligence, Internet of things, nanorobotics, big data and even Blockchain to tackle the biggest challenges in medicine over the last decades. Overall, it has developed a more human, inclusive approach that aims to provide health for all.

Medical conditions and healthcare are being transformed by the disruptive and break ground technologies used by health professionals that are changing the lives after a rough diagnose or an accident. The main objective is to give back to the patient a certain level of the original quality of life by improving, replacing or simulating a physical characteristic close to the genuine one, in order to maintain the respective functionality and/or appearance. This aims to restore dignity and contribute to social inclusion. Therefore, here I will list the top 5 most impacting tools, methods and procedures that have been already implemented successfully in patients and have reached a satisfactory progress and rise in their quality of life.

3D printed body parts

The Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine prints ear, nose and bone scaffolds that can be coated with cells to grow body parts. (Laurie Rubin)

3D printing started to gain awareness in the past years, as engineers and designers started using this tool to create the unthinkable. This technology has been around for two decades; fortunately, the price has come down in recent years and more people have been able to make use of it. Consequently, we’ve started to be able to really tap into its vast potential.  

One really exciting application of 3D printing is the generation of body parts. The level of detail that this technology can produce often overcomes traditional methods results, offering patients a superior fit or design, and they can often be produced at an impressively low cost.

Virtual Reality for Medical experience and education

Dr. Shafi Ahmed wears a VR headset as he operates on a fictional patient as part of the Virtual Surgeon program his company designed.

On April 14, 2016, the British doctor Shafi Ahmed performed the world’s first operation broadcasted around the world via virtual reality.

The entire operation, which lasted approximately three hours, was live-streamed on Medical Realities website for people without a VR headset. For those who have one, they could download the “VR in OR” app to get immersed in the 360-degree surgery room, right beside Ahmed as he removed cancerous tissue from a male patient’s bowel.

The surgery began at 1 p.m. local time at the Royal London Hospital. Thanks to a partnership between Barts Health and the 360-degree video company Mativision, the broadcast will serve as a training tool for up-and-coming surgeons and other medical professionals. Rather than endure an expensive flight to a hospital for on-site education, students can tune into VR and still see firsthand how it’s done.

Food Scanners

Food scanners

A food scanner is designed to tell how many grams of sugar a fruit contains, or what the alcohol percentage of a drink is. Even though this is one of the most recent inventions that still needs adjustments in its different brands, it has been a powerful tool for people with gluten intolerance and diabetes to overcome fears at the time of eating and choosing food.

Food scanners will need to progress similarly to wearable health trackers – move from raw data to automated analysis and smart suggestions to the user.

Nanorobotics

Nanorobotics

Surgical nanorobots are introduced into the human body through vascular systems and other cavities. They act as semi-autonomous on-site surgeon inside the human body and are programmed or directed by a human surgeon. The programmed surgical nanorobot performs various functions like searching for pathogens, and then diagnose and correct lesions by nano-manipulation synchronized by an onboard computer while conserving and contacting the supervisory surgeon through coded ultrasound signals. Nowadays, the earlier forms of cellular nano-surgery are being explored.

 

Prosthetic parts

Printed skin made as face prosthesis

One of the bigger advancements in MedTech that have promoted social inclusion is all kinds of prosthesis either for humans or animals. Prosthesis comprehends a large diversity of technologies that contribute to the final result. 3D printing is used to recreate physical appearance as AI to recreate motion and dexterity.

The skin is technically the largest organ in the human body and thanks to 3D printing, it is possible to replicate it if needed. This can actually be done by taking a sample of DNA and growing stem cells to create a material to ‘print’ with. In the past, in order to perform a skin transplant, one would have to remove a patch from another part of the patient’s body. It might be a painful process and creates an additional unnecessary wound. It is officially possible to 3D-Print skin and transfer it onto patients but within a few years, will be even possible to have the capability to Scan and 3D-Print directly over the wound with just one machine.

With these MedTech solutions, healthcare is rapidly advancing not only to expand the variety of options to patients but to restore and improve the confidence and quality life conditions of them. A human being needs to feel useful in society to contribute and participate by its own means of them. That is why MedTech plays a fundamental role in integrating every individual as a needed and valuable member in the society.

Written by Sueyfer de la Torre

SIGEF 2018, the Social Innovation and Global Ethics Forum organized by Horyou, will include a special panel on MedTech. SIGEF2018 will take place in Singapore, on 12th and 13th September.

La protection de la biodiversité est un des Objectifs de Développement Durable de l’ONU et une des préoccupations environnementales les plus urgentes. «Le Jardin Vivant» est un projet qui vise à protéger le ver de terre, organisme clé pour la richesse de notre sol. Il a été créé par l’activiste français Christophe Gatineau et a obtenu le deuxième prix au concours «Mon Projet pour la Planète», promu par le ministère français de l’Environnement. Horyou blog a interviewé Christophe qui a accepté de partager avec nous ses idées inspirantes sur l’importance de ce petit organisme pour la planète.
«Le Jardin Vivant» est un projet qui vise à protéger le ver de terre
Quelle est l’utilité du ver de terre?

 

95% de notre alimentation dépend des sols nourriciers, et comme c’est le ver de terre qui les créé et les rajeunit en permanence, on comprend très aisement que notre alimentation dépend de lui. Mieux, le futur de nos enfants.
Le ver de terre est donc au coeur du système nourriciers, et quand il est absent, seules la chimie et les énergies fossiles peuvent remplacer son travail. Alors pourquoi notre avenir serait-il dans les mains de ce petit être quase insignifiant? Parce qu’à lui seul, il répresente la première masse corporelle terrestre, autrement dir, il pèse le plus lourd
Et beaucoup d’êtres vivants vivent sur son dos et sont dépendants. Donc, s’alléger de sa présence, c’est effondrer l’ensemble du système écologique avec en premier les sols nourriciers qui lui doivent la fertilité pour plus de moitié

 

Quelles différences entre un ver de compost et un ver de terre commun?

Brièvement, il y en a un qui vit sur la terre, et l’autre sous… Un ver de compost vit sur le sol. Il a une vie courte et un taux de reproduction élevé. Un lombric terrestre vit dans un terrier avec des étages, vit longtemps, jusqu’à 8 ans, et son taux de reproduction est faible.
Il y a 3 catégories de vers de terre: les épigés qui vivent à la surface, les endogés qui vivent dans le sol, et les anéciques qui vivent dans les terriers, et qui font la navette entre les profondeurs du sol et la surface où ils viennent brouter comme une vache ou ramasser des matériaux pour le composter ! Comme ici.

 

Pourquoi disparaît-il?

 

La première cause de mortalité des vers de terre, c’est la faim. Aujourd’hui, la diversité des espèces s’effondre de manière dramatique parce qu’en priorité, les animaux meurent de faim. De l’hirondelle au ver de terre, du hérisson au bourdon et à l’abeille, toute la chaîne alimentaire se meurt de faim. Mais comme les autres, il est également empoisonné par les pesticides, les perturbateurs endocriniens, les hormones de synthèses… et par des techniques agricoles inappropriés pour rester poli.

 

Quel est l’impact des vers de terre sur les sols?

 

Il n’y a pas d’alternative au ver de terre parce qu’il est le seul à pouvoir les labourer en profondeur pour les faire respirer.

 

Pouvez vous nous présenter le jardin vivant?

 

Le Jardin vivant est blog pédagogique sur l’art de cultiver, et un média libre inféodé à aucun parti courant ou dogme, et qui n’a pas pour objet de séduire, recruter ou convaincre. Son chapeau est : Toute l’actualité du cultivateur ! On cultive la Terre comme on se cultive pour rendre fertile sa vie. Outre de sensibiliser le grand public à des systèmes de culture qui coopèrent avec la biodiversité, nous œuvrons : à la promotion d’une agriculture vivrière, autonome et humaniste, à des solutions reproductibles et transmissibles aux générations futures, à la reconnaissance du droit à la Terre pour tous. Finalement, c’est un blog social… le point de vue d’un cultivateur où tous les articles sont garantis originaux, sans publicité ni copié-collé, et le fruit d’un travail de recherche indépendant.

 

Si vous aviez un conseil à donner à la communauté Horyou pour aider le vers de terre à être heureux dans nos jardins?

 

Commencez par regarder vos vers de terre. Regardez les comme des animaux à part entière, des êtres sensibles à leur environnement, qui ont un cerveau, et qui savent s’en servir… Et rien ne rend plus heureux un ver de terre que quand il a à manger dans sa gamelle… N’oubliez pas de les nourrir, surtout l’hiver et au printemps.

 

 

Every 5th of June, the UN celebrates the World Environment Day. This year, the main theme is plastic pollution, a serious issue that has been contaminating land and oceans for decades.

UN plastic cleaning initiative

I have a challenge for you. Can you change one small habit in a one-week time?

Next Tuesday, on the 5th of June, the whole planet will be celebrating the World Environment Day. The date has been part of the UN calendar since 1974 and is a platform for raising awareness about critical issues like global warming, sustainable consumption and wildlife protection. In 2018, the main theme is just as urgent and worrying as ever: the plastic pollution that affects both land and seas and has been slowly killing biodiversity.

Now, back to the challenge. We’re a week away from World Environment Day. What could you do to put your grain of sand in this big, global castle that is environmental consciousness? Here are a few tips on how to contribute with a small action that can become a healthy habit and help to change the world.

– Say ‘no’ to straws: They are useless, can’t be reused and are one of the big villains of the oceans’ pollution. If you really need one, bring your own reusable version.

– Use tote instead of plastic bags: They are trendy, reusable and very environmental-friendly. Many cities are now banning plastic bags or charging for them, so ditching them is a way of being a good citizen, too.

UN beach cleanup in Mumbai, India

– Give preference to package-free supermarkets of grocery stores: They’re a trend in many big cities. Bring your own pot or package and fill them with the products you need. Many of them also work with organic and local products, which is a plus for your health and your community.

– Put pressure on local politicians to make stricter laws: What about calling your councilor and ask what he or she is doing to prevent plastic pollution in your city? Many cities have also open programs for citizens, like the participatory budget one where you can help decide where the money is going. Make sure they’re including the environment among their priorities!

– Join plastic cleaning initiatives in your city: You can support or volunteer for an NGO which works with plastic cleaning, or start your own initiative. While walking on the beach or in nature, you can pick all the plastic you find and give them a correct destination. Take the kids and make it a fun treasure hunt!

– Don’t forget to recycle: If your city doesn’t have a recycling program, try to contact NGOs or other initiatives that help you to dispose correctly of your garbage.

– Join the #HoryouLightChallenge: Pick your favorite SDG and share it within the Horyou platform. You can help to raise awareness about reducing plastic pollution in the oceans or any other cause you feel connected to. And you can also win an all-included trip to Singapore! See the conditions here.

Are you up to the challenge? The clock is ticking, you have one week to make a change!

Once a resource-constrained country, Singapore invests in sustainable and efficient technology to cater for its energy needs

Solar panels used to power walkway lights

Singapore has faced many challenges in the last two decades, most notably in the energy sector. With limited renewable energy options, the island still relies heavily on imports. Typically, according to the National Climate Change Secretariat (NCCA), the average wind speed is not powerful enough to activate wind turbines, while calm seas limit tidal power generation. Not to mention that the country doesn’t have a river system with fast flowing water which makes hydroelectric power a rather impossible investment option, and nuclear plants are not safe due to the limited land area and population density.

Nevertheless, Singapore has committed to becoming a benchmark in green energy and to profit from one resource the island has abundantly: solar energy. Earlier this year, the NCCA announced that the country aims to increase solar deployment from 47MWp to 350 MWp by 2020. The goal is that renewable energy would represent 8% of all the power demand. In order to do so, the country is investing heavily in research and development, as well as in creating an attractive ecosystem for cleantechs.

One of the projects developed by the government is to install solar panels on rooftops of high-rise public buildings, as well as on water surfaces. The latter, pointed as a bold and innovative pilot program, has reached so many good results that it was recently extended to the ocean. Popularly known as ‘energy islands’, the structure will supply energy to industrial and residential areas. Yet, as the geographical limitation makes it harder for the country to expand indefinitely its solar power plants, the government has decided to invest in efficiency.

The University of Singapore is thus working on solar cells that convert more sunlight into energy, and is, to that end, is making them cheaper to be integrated into buildings. The cost of solar energy has also been reduced in the last decade, making it more competitive.

Last year, the government announced that six clean energy investments across the fields of solar, wind, microgrids and energy management will help position the country as Asia’s leading cleantech hub. Currently, more 100 than clean energy companies are part of this ecosystem and helping to attract research funds, as well as an elite team of researchers. The university has already 110 PhD students, half of whom have graduated and are working in the solar energy industry.

As the authorities have secured the funding and support for these projects, the future for clean energy in Singapore seems bright!

Singapore is the host city for the Social Innovation and Global Ethics Forum (SIGEF), organized by Horyou, the social network for social good. The event will be held in September 2018.

WestRock paper and packaging is a giant company of sort – with a revenue of more than 14 billion USD, the company has been exhibiting good financial health in recent years. For WestRock, business sustainability is much more than a financial goal, reason why the company is constantly working with its supply chain, customers and communities located on the company’s factory site. We interviewed Cynthia Wolgien, WestRock Corporate Communications and Social Responsibility Manager in Brazil about the company’s community programs and vision for the future.

“Learning with the Tree” is a project which trains public school teachers with UN Agenda themes

(Versão em português abaixo – Portuguese version below)

– Tell us a bit about WestRock’s involvement in sustainability projects.

I have been working in the area of external communication and social responsibility for six years and at WestRock the two areas are closely linked. Sustainability has always been in our practices and, as the world has progressed, the company has evolved with it. In recent years, it started to work more thoroughly with the various dimensions of sustainability and this year will be the first to launch a sustainability report, aligned with the global report that the company launched last year. In Brazil, our company is privately held and has no obligation to file a sustainability report on investor standards. So we have the freedom to speak to other stakeholders, communities and clients in our report. What guides our work are the three pillars we call PPP: People, Planet and Performance.

– What are the regions of the country where your CSR programs are concentrated?

The vast majority of CSR actions are around the company’s units in Brazil, more specifically in Santa Catarina and Paraná Southern states, where we have our forests. With these communities we take special care, we run surveys and studies so that our social projects impact where they are needed most. But throughout the country we have at least 18 voluntary initiatives.

– Could you name one project of major relevance?

This year we are working with communities’ needs in a deep and smart way, in order to understand their needs and to know how they fit into what the company believes before implementing programs. One of the initiatives is “Learning with the Tree Project”, which is in its 23rd edition and trains public school teachers with themes that have always been related to the UN agenda. Two years ago, we launched the program with the 17 sustainable development goals, to present them more generally. Last year, we worked on goal 15 and land life, and this year we talked about water, goal 6. Approximately 200 teachers are trained each year, many of them coming from poor municipalities, without access to didactic material to implement the projects. So the company provides not only content, but also promotes debate and donates the material to the schools. Our goal is to reach out to children so they grow more aware and environmentally responsible. It is long-term, and they take this knowledge home, being agents of transformation and questioning.

– How can sustainability be good business?

Within the PPP philosophy, all these actions will give sustainability to the business over time. Performance is the financial health that, globally, is aimed at the investor. In Brazil, we think of performance as a profitable business that is sustainable to pay suppliers and reinvest in what we believe in. Our commitment goes beyond our operations – we have a code of conduct for suppliers to meet the goals of integrity, employee well-being and safety.

– What is your vision of corporate social responsibility within the company?

Our desire is to continue to be one of the companies that innovates and brings solutions to the customer but thinking from the forest point of view, passing through the paper mill and arriving in cardboard, which is our biggest business. We want to innovate in a responsible and committed way, in order to to minimize impact. In addition, we seek to involve employees, suppliers, customers and communities, to work always in a more holistic sustainability way.

Horyou, the social network for social good, supports social innovative initiatives that help the world to reach the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Horyou is the organizer of SIGEF, The Social Innovation and Global Ethics Forum. Be the Change, be Horyou!

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Entrevista em português

Responsabilidade social corporativa define a sustentabilidade nos negócios

Professores participantes do Projeto Aprendendo com a Árvore (PACA)

A empresa de papel e embalagens WestRock é uma gigante em seu mercado – com mais de 14 bilhões de faturamento global, a companhia vem apresentando boa saúde financeira nos últimos anos. A sustentabilidade nos negócios está intimamente ligada à preocupação com a sua cadeia de fornecedores, clientes e comunidades nos entornos das fábricas da empresa. Entrevistamos Cynthia Wolgien, gerente de Comunicação Corporativa e Responsabilidade Social da WestRock no Brasil, que fala sobre os programas comunitários da companhia e sua visão de futuro.

– Conte um pouco sobre o envolvimento da WestRock com projetos de sustentabilidade.

Trabalho há seis anos à frente da área de comunicação externa e responsabilidade social e na WestRock as duas áreas estão intimamente ligadas. A sustentabilidade sempre esteve nas nossas práticas e, à medida que o mundo foi avançando, a empresa foi evoluindo com elas. Nos últimos anos passou a pensar de maneira mais centralizada nas diversas dimensões da sustentabilidade e esse ano será o primeiro que lançará relatório de sustentabilidade, alinhado com relatório global que a empresa lançou no ano passado. No Brasil, nossas empresa é de capital fechado e não tem obrigação de lançar relatório de sustentabilidade nos padrões para investidores. Por isso temos a liberdade de falar para outros stakeholders, comunidades, clientes, sem o viés da obrigação. O que norteia o nosso trabalho são os três pilares que chamamos de PPP: Pessoas, Planeta e Performance.

– Quais são as regiões do País onde estão concentrados os programas de RSC?

A grande maioria das ações de RSC estão no entorno das unidades da empresa no Brasil, mais especificamente em Santa Catarina e Paraná, onde temos nossas florestas. Com essas comunidades temos um cuidado especial, fazemos levantamentos e estudos para que nossos projetos sociais tenham impacto onde elas mais precisam. Mas em todo o país temos pelo menos 18 iniciativas voluntárias.

– Você poderia citar um dos projetos de maior relevância na área de sustentabilidade?

Esse ano estamos trabalhando com as necessidades das comunidades de maneira profunda e de forma inteligente, para entender seus anseios e saber como eles se encaixam com o que a empresa acredita antes de implementar programas. Uma das iniciativas é o Projeto Aprendendo com a Árvore (PACA), que está em sua 23a edição e capacita professores da rede pública com temas que sempre estiveram relacionadas com a agenda da ONU. Há dois dois anos, fizemos o lançamento do programa com os 17 objetivos de desenvolvimento sustentável, para apresentá-los de maneira mais geral. No ano passado, trabalhou vida terrestre, objetivo 15, e esse ano falou da água, objetivo 6. No total, aproximadamente 200 professores são capacitados por ano, muitos deles provenientes de municípios carentes, sem acesso a material didático para implementar os projetos. Então a empresa providencia não só o conteúdo, mas promove o debate e doa o material para implementação do projeto na escola. Nosso objetivo é chegar às crianças, para que elas cresçam mais conscientes e ambientalmente responsáveis. É longo prazo, e que levem esse conhecimento para casa, sendo agentes de transformação e questionamento.

– Por que a sustentabilidade pode ser um bom negócio?

Dentro da filosofia do PPP, todas essas ações darão sustentabilidade ao negócio ao longo do tempo. A performance é a saúde financeira que, globalmente, é voltada ao investidor. No Brasil, pensamos performance como ter um negócio rentável que seja sustentável para pagar fornecedores e reinvestir no que acredita. Nosso compromisso vai além das nossas operações – temos um código de conduta para fornecedores para que eles cumpram metas de integridade, bem-estar dos funcionários e segurança.

– Qual é a sua visão de futuro para a responsabilidade social corporativa na empresa?

Nosso desejo é continuar sendo uma das empresas que mais inova e traz soluções para o cliente mas pensando desde o ponto de vista da floresta, passando pela fábrica de papel e chegando no papelão ondulado, que é nosso maior negócio. Queremos inovar de maneira responsável e comprometida, para minimizar impactos. Além disso, buscamos envolver funcionários, fornecedores, clientes e comunidades, para trabalhar sempre com esse viés de sustentabilidade mais holístico.

Horyou apoia as iniciativas de inovação social que ajudam o mundo a alcançar os Objetivos de Desenvolvimento Sustentável, e é organizadora do SIGEF, o Fórum de Inovação Social e Ética Global. Seja a mudança, seja Horyou!

Em São Paulo, jovens da comunidade do bairro de Pedreira colocam mãos à obra em programas de aprendizado em sintonia com as demandas do mercado de trabalho

Projeto é voltado a adolescentes de 14 a 17 anos

Conhecido pelos desafios econômicos e sociais, o bairro de Pedreira, na zona Sul de São Paulo, consta na lista dos distrito com os menores índices de desenvolvimento humano (IDH) da cidade. Nesse contexto, a vida pode ser dura para os jovens: longe dos principais centros empregadores e com pouco acesso à educação de qualidade, eles se encontram limitados em suas opções de carreira.

Pensando em dar mais alternativas a adolescentes de 14 a 17 anos, o projeto Área 21, uma parceria entre o Instituto Tellus, a Brasilprev e o Conselho Estadual dos Direitos da Criana e do Adolescente, vem oferecendo formação na área de tecnologia e empreendedorismo. O projeto, que conta com metodologia inovadora e um laboratório onde os alunos podem exercer sua criatividade usando ferramentas como impressoras 3D e equipamentos de realidade virtual, foi lançado este mês e já tem 320 inscritos.

A estrutura do programa lembra a de muitas escolas inovadoras de empreendedorismo: o Área 21 usa técnicas de design thinking e gamificação para que os alunos aprendam a solucionar problemas. O desafio final é criar um protótipo de start up.

Objetivo do programa é ser um laboratório de empreendedorismo e inovação

Uma das apoiadoras do Área 21 é a seguradora Brasilprev, que tem como objetivo unir sustentabilidade à inovação. «Esperamos que as experiências e interações vividas por eles ao longo do projeto os deixem mais bem preparados para entrar no mercado de trabalho, não eó em relação aos conhecimentos técnicos mas também nas competências comportamentais», afirma Cinthia Spanó, gerente de Comunicação Corporativa e Sustentabilidade da Brasilprev.

A gerente explica que a empresa se envolve há muitos anos com projetos sociais e de desenvolvimento comunitário, como a Fábrica de Ideias, que também apoia a ascensão profissional de adolescentes em situação de vulnerabilidade e risco social. O projeto, realizado em parceria com o Instituto Reciclar, ajuda o jovem a escolher sua profissão e a desenvolver suas competências socioemocionais.

Diversos estudos sobre o trabalho do futuro vêm apontando que as carreiras das próximas gerações exigirão mais competências comportamentais e menos conhecimentos técnicos, já que estes estarão sempre mudando e se atualizando. “No século 21, vivemos a inclusão de diversas tecnologias, e o jovem precisa, acima de tudo, se preparar e aprender a enfrentar novos desafios. É importante que ele não tenha medo de resolver problemas”, afirma Henrique José dos Santos Dias, um dos educadores da Área 21.

Horyou apoia as iniciativas de inovação social que ajudam o mundo a alcançar os Objetivos de Desenvolvimento Sustentável, e é organizadora do SIGEF, o Fórum de Inovação Social e Ética Global. Seja a mudança, seja Horyou!

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