• MIT Researchers Engineer a Bone Growth Breakthrough

    Chemical engineers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have designed a new implantable tissue scaffold coated with bone growth factors that release slowly over time, inducing the body to rapidly form new bone that looks and behaves just like original tissue.The new implanted tissue could change the face of treatment for bone injuries and various defects that stunt the growth of bones in the body. Currently, the preferred method of treatment normally involves transplanting bone...
  • Need Microbatteries? Try 'Smart Ink'

    One of the keys to manufacturing miniaturized medical devices, including wearables and implantables, is the miniaturization of batteries. Inching closer to the goal of creating microbatteries, Harvard scientist Jennifer Lewis and her lab have developed ‘smart inks’ for use in 3-D printers. Based on lithium titanium oxide nanoparticles, the ink can be used to produce a battery’s anode and cathode, the components through which current flows. The following video graphically illustrates this new...
  • How Apple Could Disrupt Healthcare

    Apple is currently in talks with electronic health record provider Allscripts, as well as several hospitals, in an effort to discuss the use of its previously announced cloud-based health information platform known as HealthKit.The latest discussions could signal a major push into the healthcare space, not to mention the device industry, for the Cupertino, CA–based high tech giant.Apple’s intent with the HealthKit is to make health information such as blood pressure, weight, and pulse data...
  • How to Process Catheter Tubing

    Guide catheters consist of a PTFE inner layer, a stainless-steel middle layer, and a thermoplastic outer layer. Conventionally, such tubing is often assembled manually. In contrast, a manufacturing process from Putnam Plastics (Dayville, CT) dubbed Tri-Tie technology replaces the traditional manual approach with a continuous processing method.To learn more about this continuous approach for processing catheter tubing, check out this video: Bob Michaels is senior technical editor at UBM...
  • Everything You Know about Materials Is Wrong

    A lack of innovative materials is holding the medtech industry back, says Michael Drues, PhD, the president of Vascular Sciences. And if Drues had his way, the medical device industry would start looking for bio-friendly materials.“Biocompatible isn’t good enough any more,” Drues says. “Biocompatibility just means you put something in the body and the patient doesn’t drop dead.”From Teflon to titanium, many of the biomaterials, used in the body are inert. The logic behind their use in...
  • When Laser Ablation of Parylene Makes Sense

    Laser ablation of parylene offers superior capability for designs where small features, precise alignment, and custom shapes are needed.  By David L. Wall, Resonetics LLCParylene is a conformal coating widely used in the medical device and microelectronics industries. It has many highly desirable characteristics: chemical resistance, biocompatibility, thermal stability, high dielectric strength, low friction, optical transparency, hydrophobicity, and low permeability to gases. It...
  • Sweat-Powered Electronics Show Promise for Health Monitoring

    Researchers at the University of California, San Diego have developed a sensor in the form of a temporary tattoo that can help monitor lactate during exercise while also drawing power from the chemical, which is naturally found in sweat.The device was designed by Joseph Wang, PhD and his colleagues in an effort to find more efficient ways to gather and evaluate fitness levels during intense workouts.The biobattery tattoo is the latest venture into flex circuits and microbattery technology, in...
  • This New Microhair Material Could Enable Lab-on-a-Chip Advances

    Engineers at MIT have developed a new elastic material lined with microscopic, hairlike structures that can bend and tilt in response to a magnetic field. In experiments, the engineers were able to manipulate the microhairs to tilt in a certain direction based on the orientation of the magnetic field, in an effort to form a path through which fluid and light can flow. The MIT-designed material is a flexible polymer "skin" coated with microhairs (white lines) that tilt in response to a...
  • Inside View of a Medical Device Micropump

    Micropumps are part of the panoply of medical device technologies that are enabling the trend toward miniaturization. A case in point is the mp6 diaphragm micropump from Bartels Mikrotechnik GmbH (Dortmund, Germany). Used in drug-delivery and infusion-pump applications, the pump transports tiny amounts of gases or liquids. Because of its flat form factor, the piezoelectric diaphragm micropump can be designed into wearable medical devices.In addition to its small form factor, however, the...
  • Shining a Light on Skin Cancer

    By Anastasia ThriftA new device could light the way to combating the most common form of cancer in the United States. The skin-cancer detection tool combines three light modalities into one device for better detection, thereby subjecting only the most likely skin abnormalities to biopsy—the next, more invasive and expensive stage, of diagnosis. MMS probe (Courtesy of AIP)The multi-modal spectroscopy (MMS) device was conceived by University of Texas at Austin researchers, whose results were...
  • How a Young Girl Developed an Innovative Chemotherapy Device

    Kylie Simonds, an 11-year-old girl from Connecticut, has developed a backpack-based system that enables patients to receive chemotherapy without an IV pole.Three years ago, Simonds learned first-hand of the hassles involved in being constantly tethered to a “huge and scary” IV pole after being diagnosed with a connective tissue cancer. She underwent 46 weeks of chemotherapy.  “I used to have to use the IV poles, and I always tripped over all the wires. It was hard to walk around, and I...
  • 3-D Printing Allows College Student to Save Infants in Kenya

    A 20-year-old electrical engineering student at the University of Nairobi in Kenya has used a Makerbot 3-D printer to create a tiny vein finder for use in infants.Alois Mbutura created the prototype while in his first year at the university, and believes it could go a long way in helping to deliver the numerous infant vaccinations needed in underdeveloped countries such as Kenya, according to an article on 3dprint.com. Recently, both the School of Health and the School of Engineering at the...
  • 'Death Star' Lego Particles: The Latest Ammo in Battle against Cancer

    To date the three pillars in the fight against cancer have been surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. All three of those, however, have their drawbacks, which has led some researchers to ask: What if we could equip our bodies with the necessary tools to detect and eliminate cancerous cells long before they multiply and cause problems?Earlier, we announced that a team of researchers from MIT had developed a lego-block like nanoparticle that can deploy multiple cancer drugs at once. One unique...
  • These Earbuds Monitor Your Heart

    In an age where selfies and status updates have become part of the daily routine, fitness tracking is quickly rising to the fore. As smartwatches and fitness bands continue to thrive, a new technology may soon be pulsating the ears of fitness buffs everywhere.These LG earbuds shown on the right employ Valencell’s technology to measure heart rate and various other biometric signals. With the introduction of smartphones and countless fitness apps, many companies began investing heavily in...
  • Busting Cancer with Iron Oxide Nanoparticles

    Iron oxide—already used as an MRI contrast agent—may help physicians treat cancer, according to research by an international team of scientists led by scientists at Rice University and the Methodist Hospital Research Institute in Houston.A report in the journal Advanced Functional Materials says the researchers embedded iron oxide in silicon mesoporous particles (SiMPS) and discoidal polymeric nanoconstructs (DPNs), allowing them to magnetically track, move, and hold the particles in place. The...
  • How a Wearable Could Improve Diabetics' Lives

    Researchers in Taiwan have developed a wearable optical pupil-reading device prototype that may open the door to early detection of a common neurological condition found in those with diabetes, known as diabetic autonomic neuropathy.The condition can be a serious complication for those suffering from both Type 1– and Type 2– diabetes that progressively affects the autonomic nerves controlling vital organs like the heart and gastrointestinal system. This condition often results in fainting,...
  • Why Have Five Fingers When You Can Have Seven?

    Robotics not only has the potential to restore lost limbs to people—but also enhance the limbs we already have.That is one of the intriguing takeaways from a recent innovation out of Massachusetts Institute of Technology. It’s a robot worn around the wrist that works as though it was two extra fingers adjacent to the pinky and thumb. MIT engineering professor Harry Asada suspects the two-fingered robot might assist people with limited dexterity in performing routine household tasks, such...
  • Novel Bioadhesive Inspired by Barnacles

    Researchers at Clemson University (Clemson, SC) are working to develop a natural adhesive inspired by barnacles and their ability to cling to objects submerged in the water. The adhesive could be potentially used for medical applications as well as other industrial uses.The scientists had previously discovered that the adhesive used by barnacles in their last larval stage was complex and composed of lipids, proteins, and peptides. At this stage, the barnacle is roughly shaped like a shrimp....
  • How Medical Device Tubing Is Processed

    Check out the following video highlighting a high-speed medical device tubing line. Shot by extrusion-equipment provider Milacron LLC (Cincinnati), the video shows a PAK350 medical extruder running at 500 ft/min. Among the company's offerings are extruders and extrusion lines for manufacturing a range of tubing, including small catheters, single-lumen tubes, draw-down tubing for vascular applications, multilumen tubing, and dialysis and drug-delivery tubing. Bob Michaels is senior...
  • A Robotic Electrode System That Interfaces with the Brain

    Have you heard someone say their brain is like cheese? Actually, it’s more like Jell-O, and hyper-vigilant Jell-O at that.The brain moves continuously in response to bodily movements and breathing patterns, making it exceedingly difficult to track electrical signals that pass from one cell to another. In addition, brain cells attack intruders—even the thinnest of probes – and barricade them from the electrical signals that researchers are trying to understand.Sandia scientist Murat Okandan...