• Designing for Biocompatibility, Sterilization, and Cleaning

    A conference track at MEDevice San Diego focusing on an end-to-end product development strategy for engineering and manufacturing will include a presentation titled “Planning for Product Validations: Designing for Biocompatibility, Sterilization, and Cleaning.” Given by Emily Mitzel, a laboratory manager at Nelson Laboratories (Salt Lake City), the talk will discuss material selection and processing factors that affect biocompatibility, what developers should know about designing for...
  • Wearables: Communications, Miniaturization Challenges Abound

    For wearable medical diagnostic devices to transition from the lab to the patient, engineers must overcome several distinct technological hurdles. First and foremost, they must integrate wireless communications and create miniaturized and flexible substrates.At the MEDevice San Diego conference on Wednesday, September 10 from 4:30–5:00 p.m., Fred Beyette, professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Cincinnati, will take up these challenges in a presentation titled “...
  • How Strides Are Being Made in 3-D Printing Blood Vessels

    Progress has been slow in the realm of 3-D printing living tissue and organs. An area of particular frustration has been that of blood vessel development. But the situation is changing, thanks to a team of engineers who recently made significant progress toward the creation of blood vessels using a 3-D bioprinting technique.Brigham and Women's Hospital researchers were able to create artificial blood vessels by using hydrogel constructs combined with 3-D bioprinting technology. The research...
  • Have Strong Opinions on Medtech? We've Got Your Soapbox.

    Do you believe Obamacare will be disastrous for medtech? Are you excited about the potential impact of 3-D printing on the medical device industry? Do you want to publicly demand consistency and predictability from FDA? Do you have passion and strong opinions on issues affecting the medical device industry but don’t have a soapbox?Then we want you.UBM Canon is seeking a diverse array of speakers for a new project, “Medtech Sounds Off: A Forum for Ideas, Innovation, and Opinions,” that will be...
  • Assembly Moves Back Home and Gets High Tech

    The field of contract medical device assembly has changed significantly in the past five years, says Amit Arora, global market development manager of Nordson EFD (East Providence, RI). “Product features that were either too complex or cost prohibitive for companies five to seven years ago are slowing becoming mainstream.” As a result, firms doing contract assembly work for device companies are stepping up their game.Chris Mazelin, marketing manager at Specialty Silicone Fabricators (Tustin, CA...
  • Smartphone App Can Detect Jaundice in Newborns

    An app called BiliCam uses a smartphone’s camera and flash in conjunction with a color calibration card to diagnose jaundice in infants. A common condition in infants—especially those born prematurely, jaundice symptoms are typically mild for most babies. In some cases, however, jaundice can cause severe harm and be potentially be fatal to the infant if left untreated.Skin that turns yellow can be a telltale sign of jaundice, and is a possible indication that the newborn is not eliminating the...
  • First Functioning Organ Grown in Living Animal

    Scientists at the University of Edinburgh have successfully grown a fully functioning organ from transplanted laboratory-created cells in a living animal. While researchers have grown organs in controlled lab environments, this marks the first time that an organ has been created within a living mammal.Researchers created a thymus, an organ located next to the heart that produces important immune cells, known as T cells, which are vital for guarding against disease.The scientists were able to...
  • Watch Out for These 3 Common Medical Packaging Mistakes

    Image: DDL Inc.Packaging has come a long way in the medical device industry, especially since the release of ISO 11607 in 1997. Yet despite an increasing focus on sterile packaging design and selection since then, medical device companies still fall victim to some common mistakes that jeopardize package integrity. Here are three common mistakes to avoid.The medical device is not correctly sized to the packaging. Sterility breaches in the primary packaging can be a dangerous consequence of...
  • How a Laser Could End Diabetic Finger Pricking

    Researchers at Princeton University have discovered a way to use a laser to measure people’s blood sugar, in an effort to eventually shrink the laser into a portable device that could allow for diabetics to eliminate pricking fingers to monitor their condition. The new monitor uses a laser, instead of blood sample, to read blood sugar levels. The laser is directed at the person's palm, passes through skin cells and is partially absorbed by sugar molecules, allowing researchers to calculate...
  • Medtech's Misogyny Problem

    There are no female innovators in the medical device industry.That’s what industry professionals told us when we recently asked for nominations of women researchers, engineers, and designers driving innovation in the field.It seemed like a relatively innocuous question to ask the medtech community, but we received a slew of surprisingly snarky and sexist comments, including a chorus of "there are none" and "are you going to provide some training for them?" That members of our educated,...
  • Virtual Reality Therapy for Visually Impaired Boasts Real Results

    An interactive virtual reality game could help improve visual impairments for patients suffering from conditions such as strabismus (crossed eyes), diplopia (double vision), and amblyopia (lazy eye). The game developed by Lansing, MI–based programmer James Blaha could especially be useful in treating strabismus.Blaha, who grew up suffering from strabismus, set out to create a virtual reality game that could help the brain work with the suppressed eye in conjunction with the healthy eye in an...
  • $25 Device Can Monitor Everything from Diabetes to Malaria

    Harvard researchers have developed a medical device that can be used by healthcare workers in lower economic areas to help monitor diabetes, detect malaria, identify environmental pollutants, and perform other tests that often require expensive medical machinery.The device costs around $25 to produce, weighs just two ounces, and is about the size of a pack of cigarettes. It was modeled after the last generation of glucose monitoring devices, and is already in use in field trials in India.The...
  • Brain-Reading Tech Could Detect Drug Side-Effects

    The iBrain, a cutting-edge, portable device can record single-channel EEG readings from individuals with or without pathologies or treatment.The maker of the device, NeuroVigil has a growing database that couple a myriad of proprietary algorithms to extract biomarkers from these signals. NeuroVigil retains exclusive ownership of these disease and drug biomarkers, and has recently partnered with a large pharmaceutical company with plans to use the iBrain technology in its neurological research....
  • How Magnesium Could Make for Better Ortho Implants

    Researchers at the University of Florida have developed a surgical pin made from magnesium that can degrade in the body at controlled rates over time.“We don’t always want to put in a metal implant and leave it there forever,” Michele Manual, an associate professor of materials science and engineering, said in a university press release out Tuesday.“The idea with this pin is that it would dissolve over time, and after it’s finished, your body is basically in the same state it was before you had...
  • 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...