Digital Pill: Increasing Patient Accountability to Doctors

BioMedical Mondays 013: Hamza Waheed


When a person is sick in America, it is pretty commonplace to go to a doctor. The doctor diagnoses the problem and tells the patient what is going on. Afterwards, the doctor may give medications for the patient to use. However, there is a small problem. The patients sometimes do not take their medications. In America, around 2 billion prescriptions are given to patients.  About half of those drugs are not taken by patients or filled, costing the U.S. healthcare system around $100-$286 billion. Now, there is a solution: Abilify MyCite.

The product was approved by the FDA on November 13, 2017. It contains a pill, sensor, and an smartphone app. The device works similar to an EKG. Inside the pill, there is a sensor. The sensor works in a polar molecule (in this case, the hydrochloric acid in our stomach). When the pill is taken, everything is dissolved but the sensor.  The sensor generates a small electric current. If the patient took the pill, the sensor will notify the doctor that he or she did via bluetooth to the smartphone app. The signal sent is an encodation of a single number.

The signal sent can tell doctors many insights about their patients. It can notify doctors about what time the patient took the pill and whether they took the pill standing or sitting. But that is not all.  Abilify MyCite can also tell doctors how active a person is.  It does this through a wearable sensor on the skin, rather than the sensor embedded in the pill.  It works similar to a fitbit. All of these actions can only occur if the patient consents.

This technology raises many ethical concerns.  Who is the owner of the data?  Is the doctor, the company (Otsuka Pharmaceutical is the patent owner), or the patient?  Who can use the data? There are many companies that use such data to develop new products, understand people, and develop better policies through such data.  Last but not least, will human beings become cyborg-like?  Only time will tell.  In the future, similar products will be developed that track other parts of human health.  For now, having people use such technology will be difficult, along with getting the proper adherence and usage.   


Virtual Reality in Medicine | BioMedical Mondays 012

Author: Hamza Waheed
Virtual Reality is one of the many disruptive technologies that will be used in the future.  One of the most common places VR (virtual reality) is seen is at stores. You can buy a VR headset for $50 dollars or more and immerse yourself in a completely new environment. VR has and will continue to disrupt medicine. Here are (insert number) ways that VR will change the field of medicine.

  1. Training: The biggest way VR will disrupt the medical industry is through training future doctors and surgeons. Instead of having to potentially risk a patient's life, organ, or body part, an inexperienced or surgeon in-training can see and perform a certain type of surgery in real life without the risk of harm onto the patient. Not only will learning dangerous operations become safe, but also learning the anatomy and physiology of the human body will improve dramatically. People can see in real time what actually is going on inside the human body.

  2. Research and Development: Virtual Reality give a different view of the human body.  Because of this, newer, innovative rehabilitation systems will be developed in the field.  For example, Mind motion PRO, an app, allows for patients to have a better experience with repetitive movements associated with rehabilitation.  This allows for damaged nervous systems to become rehabilitated much faster.

  3. Treatments: Virtual Reality is likely to become a critical component in treating and recoverin people.  Doctors will probably prescribe some form of VR in the future.  For example, a doctor may prescribe physical therapy for a patient.  Physical Therapy can boring for some patients.  This can be due to the repetitive and routine nature of some of the physical therapy exercises.  Now a patient will not feel bored by the exercise they are doing.  Patients can simply immerse themselves in a completely different world, and accomplish both the exercise and entertainment.  It becomes a win-win situation for both the doctor and the patient.

Many companies are pioneering Health-related VR.  These companies include, but are not limited to, Pious, Virtually Better, and applied VR.  Many more companies will be made in this space, as the technology drops in price and more innovation occurs.  Expect your quality of healthcare to go up in the future due to Virtual Reality.    

9 Study Tips for Engineers

Summarized by 1% Engineer, Destiny Aghabueze Ayo

There is a lot of useless study tips on the internet, some are super basic, boring and not helpful, like don't procrastinate and study with friends. But I wanted to make this blog post to give you some more advanced techniques so you can get good grades in your challenging engineering courses.

1. Prepare for class

Set yourself up for classroom success. Preparing yourself for lecture is very important. This way you're not scrambling to pay attention in class. You're not actually seeing things for the first time. Look into the material the night before or days before you reviewed it, familiarize yourself with it. So, you're not just scrambling and playing catch-up in the classroom you're ready. For those first questions and to apply your knowledge and it just helps you lock in the information. Those equations or formulas, whatever you are learning in class they will be remembered so much better because you've seen it before.

2. Take good notes

Make sure you take good notes and I'm going to give you a specific tactic so that you can do this. Check out the Cornell method. This note-taking technique divides your paper into three sections. The rightmost section is where you take all your notes, the leftmost column is where you do keyword summaries and little questions. For example, you would talk about a keyword like a technique or Newton's second law. Then you would have all the equations on the right side and then at the bottom of the page. This is your third section. You will summarize that page of notes and this gives you so many advantages when it comes to studying or doing your homework because you can glance at the left column or down at your summaries and then you can use the core section of your notes to call on the equations or look at the formulas.

3. Form good habits

I recommend you read Charles Duhigg's book, called "The power of habit". He is an expert on habit. In his book Duhigg talks all about the three-pronged habit forming cycle and what that is, is that you have a response, then you have a reward and a habit is grounded by these two pillars. Then the third one is the reward. This is super-duper important if you're actually rewarding yourself every time you accomplish something great like finishing a homework assignment on time or studying for an exam on time. You need to make sure that you're rewarding yourself properly instead of doing the wrong execution and then rewarding yourself improperly. Investigate some of the reasons in this book and you'll find that you can form a very very strong study habit that you can deploy in your life.

4. Pomodoro Technique

The Pomodoro Technique is a good way to make sure that you're not burning yourself. That you're not overcommitting and making yourself turn to procrastination. Instead, deploy a technique like the Pomodoro method and what that is, is you chunk your time up such that you focus on something for 25 minutes with no distractions, then you take a five-minute break and this falls right after the habit suggestion because that 5 minute break is the reward for committing yourself to a 25 minute study period. Then you do it 4 times in a row that's 2 hours of studying or 2 hours of homework before you then reward yourself even further with a 15 to 20 minute break. While you're in the Pomodoro method what you need to do is write down any distractions that come into mind instead of looking at your phone or googling something.

5. Study in groups

Study with a group even if it's just one other person. It is very very key to success because sometimes you will not get that homework assignment. Sometimes you will be caught up on an exam studying portion. Having someone else there to support you or even for you to instruct them or for you to teach while you are studying is very very important because in order for you to teach something you have to understand it so thoroughly, helps you understand something even deeper. I highly encourage you to work with people who are at the same student caliber as you. I always encourage 1% percent nation to find little study groups 2, 3, 4 people max.

6. Spaced repetition

Studies have shown that if you introduce yourself to a topic. Wait a little bit, introduce yourself again, wait a little bit, introduce yourself again. You can deploy fewer hours to your study commitment versus binge studying and trying to compact it all to three days before an exam. You will invest less time if you space it out. Studies have shown that you can invest significantly less time if you start studying for an exam a week to three weeks ahead of time and study for just one hour and then wait three or four days and then study for two hours and then wait three or four days and then study for two hours again.

7. Diffused versus focus thinking

One thing to keep in mind is the power of diffused versus focused thinking and there's a reason why I put this right after the space repetition method because when we are concentrating with full force, we're studying or trying to learn with focused attention. You need to give yourself breaks and allow yourself to sleep on things and allow yourself to think about stuff passively, while you're in the shower, you're going over certain equations and certain problems, very casually and you're trying and remember things but you're not actually fully focusing on these things. This way you're allowing your focus attention and you diffuse attention to come together and lock in those memories.

8. destroy procrastination

Procrastination is the kryptonite of all students. You have to break down your study tasks into the smallest microscopic details so that you can create a chain reaction of wins and get a good grade on your exams. What you need to do is break that down to very very small manageable goals. You say I'm going to study for each class 3 hours a week which means you're going to have to deploy about 45 hours of studying per week in total. Assuming you have a 15-semester credit load. What you need to do is go into your calendar and block in study times and actually plan those out so that you stick to the plan. So, that you break it down into these little tiny microscopic tasks and then they build up to those good grades at the end of the semester. If you make these things too challenging for yourself and say you want to study for 8 hours on Saturdays and Sundays those could be unmanageable tasks. You could have a tendency to procrastinate if the goals you set for yourself are too hard. You should go to a library or to a coffee shop with soft music or something and remove distractions so that you can kill it during your study time.

9. Corson in method

If you guys get stuck on something while you're studying for that exam then what you need to do is make sure that you dive into it enough such that you write down all of the steps and you get to that stopping point or that frustration point where you can't go any further and when you do actually go ask for help you can say "OK I did this and I tried that and then I got to here and this is the part that I don't understand". What you're showing your professor or your TA is that you have been ambitious enough to try it and you did deploy what you learned in class but you got stuck here and it shows that you tried. It also helps them help you because they know the exact source of the confusion. They know the exact source of frustration. You need to try it yourself first and then ask if you get stuck.


Biomedical Engineering Projects | BioMed Mondays 011

Author: Hamza Waheed


Personal projects are important for engineering majors.  They can give you a tremendous boost on your resume and give you experience in an industry.  Most importantly, personal projects show that you have ambition, curiosity, and an ability to learn.  Some people believe that large amounts of cash and a revolutionary idea are needed in order to get started.  This is far from reality.  You do not need massive amounts of money and a groundbreaking idea in order to get started.  You can get started for free.  Here are three ways BME majors can get started on personal projects.

  1. Hardware: You can use various hardware, such as raspberry pi and arduino to create some type of device for the medical industry.  Anything can be used.  It can range from your laptop or desktop to an Oculus VR headset.  It does not matter.  If you do not have an idea to pursue, you can do what someone else has done and follow those instructions.  Check out the following link for some ideas:

  2. Software: It is no secret that software is all the rage in today’s world.  Because of the impact software has today, and what it will have tomorrow, many jobs will be available in the field.  The medical field is no different.  You can prepare for this by learning a language and applying it.  The best part about software, it is cheap to make.  Many medical technologies require software for tracking, monitoring, and transmitting data.  This only the beginning.  A BME major can work develop a software for a medical device, app, or program that can have some type of impact in the medical area.


3. Reading material: Read research papers on various BME technologies, articles, and books on this subject.  Reading allows you to gain knowledge, skills, and most importantly: a glimpse into the future.  By reading research papers today on BME technologies, you can recognize trends.  If you see something come up over and over again, you can have a potential idea, which can turn into a personal project.

Remember, your personal projects are only limited by your imagination.  You have to believe in your abilities and project making skills more than anyone else in this world.  BME majors should not be afraid of failure or their project being deemed “stupid.”  The only risk in today’s world is not taking a risk.  Challenge yourself.  Go out into the world and start learning and doing.  I promise you will learn so much by doing personal projects.  If you want a book on how to find ideas, if you want to find ideas, google a book called Where Good Ideas Come From by Steven Johnson.

Five Best Pharmaceutical Companies to Work For | BioMed Mondays 10

Author: Hamza Waheed
The most obvious place that biomedical engineering major students work for is the medical device industry.  However, that does not mean that it is the only industry where BME majors can work in.  Another common place BME majors can be found at is the pharmaceutical industry.  Here are five of the best pharmaceutical companies that a BME major can work for.

1. Johnson and Johnson:

An american multinational medical device, consumer packaged goods, and pharmaceutical company.  The company is known for many of its brands, such as Band-Aid, Neutrogena, and Johnson's Baby products.  Some of its pharmaceutical products include, but are not limited to, Remicade and Simponi.  With around 127,100 employees worldwide, Johnson and Johnson is the world's largest medical device company.  It is also one of the oldest, being founded in 1886.

Johnson & Johnson brands

2. Roche:

A Swiss multinational healthcare company with two divisions: Pharmaceuticals and Diagnostics.  It is the third largest pharmaceutical company worldwide.  The company has a powerful presence in the pharmaceutical field for cancer treatment.  With around 94,000 employees worldwide, Roche is a very large employer.  The company continues to innovate in the field of personalized medicine and medicine in general.

3. Pfizer:

An American pharmaceutical company with its headquarters in New York City.  The company has many well known drugs, with the biggest being Lipitor, a drug that generated more than $1 billion in revenue.  It is also one of the oldest pharmaceutical companies, founded in 1849.  The company employs around 96,000 people worldwide.

4. Novartis

Just like Roche, Novartis is another Swiss company.  However, the company is only participates in the pharmaceutical industry.  In 2015, the company had nine drugs that were blockbuster drugs, which are drugs that make over $1 billion dollars in revenue.  Gleevec, Gilenya, and Lucentis were some of those drugs to name a few.  The company employs about 118,000 people worldwide.  Unlike some of the other pharmaceutical companies, Novartis was founded in 1996, making it one of the youngest well known pharmaceutical companies in the world.

5. Merck & Co 

Just like Pfizer, Merck is an American pharmaceutical company.  The company was founded in 1891 by a much older German subsidiary Merck, which was founded in 1668.  This is interesting because only one company that was originally listed in the New York Stock Exchange exists today: General Electric. Headquartered in Kenilworth, New Jersey, the company has made many important contributions to health.  In particular, it created the first mumps and rubella vaccine.  Merck & Co. employs 70,000 people worldwide.

Merck & Co brands

Merck & Co brands

Note: There are many other great pharmaceutical companies to work for.  GSK, Sanofi, and Celgene are others to list a few.  These five companies in order have had the largest market cap in a while. Because of that type of dominance, these companies are listed. 

How BME Majors Can Get Experience | BioMedical Mondays 09

Experience is a dark word when it comes to young people looking for a job.  There seems to be a catch-22 when searching for it.  “How do you get experience, when you have none to begin with?”  This is especially true for the Millennial generation and downwards.  Employers are less likely to give an engineering major with no relevant experience a chance for many reasons.  One big reason is because most employers do not want to train employees.  Unfortunately, most employers do not have a robust training program for employees.  It costs a large amount of resources and there is fear that the employee will move on after 2-3 years.  The reality is most employees do not stay for long at a company.  Long gone are the Industrial Age days where people work for a company for their entire life and then receive a pension. Although getting hired in today’s economy is much more difficult than before, it does not mean that it is impossible today.  After all, everyone started out with no experience.  Without further ado, here are five ways BME (biomedical engineering) majors can get experience!

  1. Internship and/or Co-op: This is the best option of all, with the biggest benefit that you are getting direct experience in your field.  This becomes a huge selling point and gives you an unbelievable competitive advantage in your field. The only problem is everyone else is trying to get one.  Every single BME major has access to the internet and their respective college job posting board.  Most of them know this is extremely important.  Because of this, BME majors need to make sure that their elevator pitch is down, along with their job hunting (in this case internship/co-op) and interview skills.  If they are not, spend some time practicing them.  One final tip, try to be a part of a co-op.  There is a 90% chance that the employer is going to extend you an offer.  Think about it. Youdevoted 40 hours a week for at least a semester to, for the most part, an actual job. Every new hire is a risk.  It becomes way too risky for the employer to hire someone new.  If you do not get a job with that company, you can always sell yourself to another using the the co-op experience.

  2. Free Work: These two words may scare many BME majors.  Never be afraid of this.  As you have probably realized getting experience is extremely important.  This is a good strategy because most BME majors do not think of this.  People pay thousands of dollars to get a degree that may not get them a job, but most people are unwilling to do any type of free work in their field.  This makes no sense whatsoever.  Paying for college may put you in debt, but the unpaid internship/free work costs you nothing. There are many examples of people succeeding because of this strategy, one being  Warren Buffett.  People would not know him as “The Wizard of Omaha” if he did not work for free for his graduate professor Benjamin Graham.  Try to see if there are any medical startups in your area.  If there are no startups, go to whatever is in your region.  The benefit of working for a startup is that you learn a lot in a very short amount of time.  Go to every startup and ask if you can work for free.  Do this without expecting anything in return.  Sell it as if it is a win-win situation for both, because it is. You are getting experience and they are getting labor at a good "price".  

  3. Research: Start looking around your college campus or nearby for some research opportunities.  Make sure it is relevant to your field.   Being in research develops your writing skills, along with the ability to network.  There are also many research engineering jobs, which makes it directly applicable in that sense. Start with building better relationships with your professors, standing out in class, visiting their office hours, and then ask them for a position. If they have nothing, ask them to connect you with their professorial peers.

  4. Attend Hackathons: A hackathon is an event where people come together and code for a weekend to solve a problem.  A lot of hackathons include both software and hardware applications.  MLH (Major League Hacking) is one of the biggest organizers in the United States and arguably the world for hackathons.  They have many hackathons across college campuses all over the United States.  There is a health section in about everyone of them.  Attend that portion.  You will learn about the problems, the pain-points, along with many practical skills for building software, hardware, and business all in a condensed period of time.  Make sure you network there as well.

  5. Personal Projects:  Last but not least, do personal projects.  This can be anything in healthcare.  Whether you are coding for some medical device or actually creating some medical device, do something.  Even if it is just copying something that someone else made and posted on the internet.  One applicable area any BME major can learn is Arduino.  Arduino is a company that creates single board micro-controllers and micro-controller kits for digital products, open source projects, and so much more. Many companies use Arduino to prototype and test out possible solutions.  Who knows? Maybe you will create the next big breakthrough via some personal project. Even if you do not, at least you will show initiative and innovation skills.

These are five ways BME majors can get experience in their field.  If you apply these five tactics to get gain experience, you will be guaranteed to accumulate some.  Just remember to start as soon as possible and never quit on yourself, no matter how difficult it may become. There is always a way to break into any industry!

Author: Hamza Waheed

Mechanical Engineer interview with Thomas A. Anderson

Most young engineers want to be the boss one day, but don't know how to get there. Wouldn't it be nice to learn from someone who has jumped through all the hopes before? That's exactly why I picked Thomas's brain about what young engineers can do better to win in their early career.

Thomas is a mechanical engineer with over 10 years of professional experience. Beyond this, he mentors hundreds of young engineers through his Engineers, Students, and Recent Graduates Community, has his Competent Leader distinction as a Toastmaster, helps plan projects for Point Park University, gives engineering talks to colleges in the Pittsburgh area, and more. See more about Thomas A. Anderson here

The video summary of our interview is below, where I ask Thomas questions regarding engineering career advice, Linkedin relationship building tips, his biggest career takeaways, and more.

If you'd like the 1% Engineer Kit, which is several ebooks and resume templates so you can win, apply to join the free community here

IBM Watson in Healthcare | BioMedical Mondays 08

In 2011, IBM Watson, a supercomputer that can answer questions based off of imputed data, was shown to beat a human contestants on the show Jeopardy. This was one of the first times in our history where a computer was able to outperform a human being. Besides being able to outperform humans in answering questions, Watson has the capability of revolutionizing many fields. One such field is healthcare.  


Watson is a type of artificial intelligence. This means it can do things that normally humans would do.  One such item is diagnosing patients. In 2013, IBM Watson was first used in Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. The technology was used for lung cancer treatment. It allowed for doctors to better diagnose the lung cancer. Based off of a patient's previous medical history, Watson comes up with a list of treatment options for the lung cancer, along with a confidence score of how effective it will be for the patient. This completely disrupts healthcare for two reasons. One, doctors do not have to spend time trying to diagnose the disease, with sub-par results compared to IBM Watson. And two, hospitals and clinics can now scale personalized health to many people, allowing better quality of healthcare and more profits. IBM Watson, just like many other types of artificial intelligence, improves with time. The more data is added, along with its usage, the better the system gets at repetitive and routine tasks (in this case, diagnosing patients).

Not only is Watson able to better diagnose patients conditions, but it can also better recommend clinical trials.  Billions of dollars have been lost due to patients not being enrolled in clinical trials.  IBM Watson helps solve this problem by taking the patient's data and matching it with clinical trials to see if there is a potential fit.  Novartis, a pharmaceutical company, is using the platform to better design experiments, match patients, and gain better insight into a whole list of other problems.

Author: Hamza Waheed

Episode 056: STEMedia interview with Nehemiah Mabry

Finally my interview with Dr. Nehemiah Mabry is here. What an inspiring man. He's still the #1 role model for me while I build 1% Nation. Husband, father, PhD structural engineer, STEAM leader, speaker, community builder, filmmaker, and genius behind STEMedia. We talk about why he chose civil engineering, where he found his PhD inspiration, why NC State is his alma mater, and what drives him to help tens of thousands of STEAMers through Thanks again Nehemiah for believing in me long ago when I had like 5 YouTube episodes and you featured me on your website!!

Five Best Medical Device Companies to Work For | BioMedical Mondays 07

Within every field of engineering, there are companies that just about every student wants to work for.  For example, aerospace engineering students want to work for SpaceX.  For computer science majors, the companies that come to mind are Apple, Microsoft, Google, Amazon, Facebook, and the list goes on and on.  The field of biomedical engineering is the same.  Here are five of the best biomedical engineering companies to work for.


1. Johnson and Johnson: An american multinational medical device, consumer packaged goods, and pharmaceutical company.  The company is known for many of its brands, such as Band-Aid, Neutrogena, and Johnson's Baby products.  Some of its medical device products include, but are not limited to, vision care, surgical instruments, and diabetes care.  With around 127,100 employees worldwide, Johnson and Johnson is the world's largest medical device company.  It is also one of the oldest, being founded in 1886

2. Medtronics: An american medical device company based in Fridley, Minnesota and Dublin, Ireland.  It has several business areas: heart failure, Parkinson's Disease, urinary incontinence, Downs Syndrome, obesity, chronic pain, spinal disorders, and diabetes.  98,000 people are employed by the company and it is also an Equal Opportunity Employer.


3. Baxter International: Headquartered in Deerfield, Illinois, Baxter International is a Fortune 500 company.  The company differentiates itself by focusing mostly on products that treat hemophilia, kidney disease, immune disorders, and other acute and chronic medical conditions.  The company has two businesses: BioScience and Medical Products.  57% of the company’s revenue comes from its Medical Products department.  Around 48,000 employees work for Baxter.

4. Becton Dickenson (BD): Founded in 1897 and headquartered in Franklin Lakes, New Jersey, BD is one of the oldest medical device companies.  The organization is known for pioneering the production of hypodermic needles and glass syringes made in the United States.  BD has three business segments: BD Medical, BD Life Sciences, and BD Biosciences.  Around 49,500 people work for BD.

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5. Abbott: An american worldwide healthcare company, with its headquarters in Lake Bluff, Illinois.  The company has seven business divisions: Diabetes Care, Diagnostics, Endovascular, Established Pharmaceuticals (EFD), Medical Devices, Medical Optics, Nutrition.  Abbott, just like Johnson and Johnson, is also a very old company.  It was founded in 1888.  Just like Medtronics, Abbott is also an Equal Opportunity Employer.

Here are five of the many great medical device companies available for Biomedical engineering majors to work for.  Keep in mind that there are many other great medical device companies out there. GE Healthcare, Stryker, and Boston Scientific are some examples of such companies.  Five were only listed for the sake of this article.  Just to clarify some terminology, an Equal Opportunity employer is an employer that does not discriminate against, race, religion, sex, natural origin, citizenship, disabilities, and whole list of other possible reasons an employer can discriminate.  Keep this in mind when searching for what company to work for, because you may not be a citizen or a green card holder.  Always do more research to learn more about the company.    

Author: Hamza Waheed