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Air Force and industry consortium announce workshop on telemedicine and medical electronics innovation

Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the August 2020 SEMI NBMC workshop will be a virtual event. (Courtesy graphic)

Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the August 2020 SEMI NBMC workshop will be a virtual event. (Courtesy graphic)

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio – The Air Force Research Laboratory, along with SEMI Nano-Bio Materials Consortium (NBMC), a global association of electronics design and manufacturing companies, will hold an open, virtual workshop series this August. Its purpose is to explore the continuing need for actionable, intelligent and real-time data to improve outcomes for remote sensing, monitoring and treatment. The annual workshop, which begins August 5, 2020, and continues in two-hour sessions on each successive Wednesday, will be the fourth such event held by the consortium. However, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, this is the first time it will be a virtual event.

The focus of the 2020 workshop is “digital health.” Each session will feature a different aspect of biomarker sensing and diagnostics for telemedicine. A biomarker, or biological marker, is a measurable physical characteristic such as pulse rate or blood chemistry. The workshop will cover progress and explore gaps in nano-bio electronics, including expanding the ability to observe biomarkers in real time, resulting in improved human health and performance.

The first session, on August 5, will discuss the biomarker analysis of exhaled breath, advancements in wearable monitors, and sensing certain biomarkers in the subcutaneous interstitium. The session will wrap up with a presentation from DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

The weekly sessions that follow on August 12, 19 and 26 will focus on en-route care and point-of-care diagnostics, wearable devices that enable rapid medical decision-making, and automation and artificial intelligence, respectively.

NBMC was formed in 2013 under a cooperative agreement between AFRL and SEMI. Although Air Force research is primarily done with the warfighter in mind, NBMC’s work pertains to both the government and the private sectors. “The NBMC charter is dual use,” said Government Lead Dr. Jeremy Ward. “Projects are DOD relevant as well as commercially viable, having use in a broad market. No project is undertaken unless it has dual use potential.”

This year’s SEMI NBMC workshop deals mainly with understanding the state-of-the-art and interest for the development of “sensing modalities that will function in a high-motion environment, for example, in a cockpit or in an aeromedical evacuation,” added Ward.  “Such sensors would also find use in a non-DOD environment, for example, in an ambulance carrying the injured from an accident or a natural disaster. These remote monitors also apply to the challenges faced with monitoring and care delivery in rural communities.”

As in previous years, a request for proposals (RFP) will follow the workshop. Industry and academia will be asked to respond with their solutions to the types of challenges discussed during the workshop series.

“The workshop is a way to gather thoughts and ideas from industry and academia,” said 2nd Lt. Suren Uswatta, NBMC Technical Lead. “For example, what area should we focus on and what are the technology gaps? One of the objectives of NBMC is to identify the areas we need to concentrate on.”

Registration for the workshop is now open. Anyone interested in attending should visit https://store-us.semi.org/products/smart-medtech-virtual-workshop-series-august-2020 and fill out the registration form. The cost is $199 for consortium members, $399 for non-members. A non-member discount is available for government, military and academia, whose cost will be $249. Registration includes access to four webinars as well as post-webinar access to recordings and presentations.