Published: 18 February 2015

Revolutionising plasma technologies and virtual reality experiences for an ageing population

A consortium of plastic surgeons, medical professionals and Surrey Space Centre (SSC) researchers have formed the company Fourth State Medicine (4SM) – aiming to transform medical technology.

One key technology 4SM are investigating is plasma technology. Capable of producing chemicals including nitric oxide and other radicals that can sterilise and deactivate bacteria and heal wounds, the temperature and surface energy delivery of plasma technologies can also be controlled in order to reduce epidermal and superficial dermal thickness.

The team recently created a hand-held plasma device, which can remove the upper layer of dermis and sterilise skin treatment areas. Application of the technology includes wrinkle removal and fine line reductions, treatment of diabetic ulcers and open wounds as well as trauma-related operations like managing acute bleeding.

Dr Tom Frame, founder and CEO of 4SM said, "We have had significant results across a range of histopathology studies and microbiology evaluation, which demonstrates a high level of efficacy across our commercial applications."

Another technology the team are investigating is virtual reality. Using video footage collected from a high-altitude balloon, 4SM, SSC and Infinite Void Ltd recently captured an immersive journey through space and offered this virtual reality experience to the general public.

The team now hope to use their relevant skills and experiences to create virtual holidays and nostalgic sensory experiences for elderly patients in the last stages of life.

“In addition to visual experiences, we could create virtual realities that include tastes, smells, sound and touch. The possibilities are very exciting,” said SSC research assistant Tom Harle.

“The kinds of technologies being developed could augment cognitive behavioural therapies and be used to treat a range of conditions from phobias and stress, to chronic diseases including strokes, diabetes and hypertension.”

Explore the full profile in the PMFA News and discover Surrey’s Engineering for Health project. You can also read a British Airways Business Life magazine feature on the research by following the link below:

 British Airways Business Life magazine - Surrey Halo System.pdf

The Royal Academy of Engineering has named the hand-held plasma device as one of the seven most promising technologies to be developed at UK universities – an achievement which has been featured in an article in The Telegraph.

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