• Why Abbott Is Joining the 'Bigger Is Better' Bandwagon

    The Abbott and St. Jude deal underscores how the desire to achieve scale is driving medtech OEMs. Arundhati Parmar(Image courtesy of iStockphoto.com user Nicolás Meroño)In the current healthcare paradigm, it appears that size does matter in the medical device industry.That was in evidence Thursday with the latest megamerger between industry heavyweights. Abbott Labs is purchasing St. Jude Medical for a cool $25 billion.“This is just yet another example where we see the...
  • How AI Is Getting Even Better at Spotting Illness

    Machines equipped with deep-learning algorithms may be as good as humans in detecting cancer in ultrasound images and in identifying it in pathology reports, according to recent news out of Samsung, the Regenstrief Institute, and Indiana University.Nancy Crotti(Image courtesy of holohololand at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)Evidence continues to mount when it comes to the potential of artificial intelligence to help health providers spot signs of illness in patient, including such deadly maladies as...
  • Is Coal the Future for Electronic Devices?

    Research at MIT suggests that the unique properties of coal could be used as the material basis for a new generation of batteries, solar panels, and other electronic devices—including in the medical device field. Kristopher SturgisPulverized coal (right) is shown with several test devices that MIT researchers made from coal. (Image courtesy of MIT)For decades coal has been a valuable resource that, despite its rich chemical properties, has largely been burned for the purposes of producing...
  • A Virtual Reality Solution to Help Spot Concussions

    Born out of Stanford research, the FDA-cleared Eye-Sync device measures jitter in eye movement.Nancy CrottiEye-Sync goggle wearers use their eyes to follow a dot that travels in a circle for 15 seconds before the test begins again. (Image courtesy of SyncThink)FDA has cleared a virtual reality, eye-tracking headset that can detect concussion symptoms in less than 60 seconds.Eye-Sync, from Boston-based startup SyncThink, is the product of years of research by the Stanford Concussion and...
  • Sharing Medical Realities

        On April 14, London-based Medical Realities became the first in the world to have performed a virtual reality 360-degree live stream of a surgery on a cancer patient to anyone who had a VR headset—be it an Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear, or Google Cardboard—and had downloaded the companion app on their iOS and Android devices.“For the first time, you were in an operating theater when an operation was taking place … and it was as if you were inside the operating theater right next...
  • Creating Some zSpace in the Medical Classroom

        Like Conquer Mobile, zSpace is creating augmented reality and virtual reality tools to enhance education in medicine, even in regular classrooms.Users have to wear a thin pair of polarized glasses with tracking sensors to view the virtual reality on a proprietary display and use a special stylus to interact with the reality presented. So, unlike the examples before, zSpace users don’t get a 360-degree virtual reality experience.The goal of Sunnyvale, CA–based ZSpace is to...
  • Conquer Mobile: Getting the Better of Surgical Training

        Conquer Mobile (Surrey, British Columbia) wants to leverage virtual reality to transform medical education for the express purpose of surgical training.The main targets of the company are perioperative nurses, with the belief that training professionals in the operating room will make it a safer place for patients. The company is also able to create custom apps for medical customers.VR is the next step for the company, given how it has gained experience in the market with its...
  • Some Firsthand Tech for Pain Treatment

        Firsthand Tech (Seattle)—which DeepStream VR spun out of—has been developing virtual reality games and consulting in the field for 20 years, although applications went beyond healthcare. It has been credited with the development of the SnowWorld game that is aimed at burn victims who need their dressing changed.The game “transports the patient through an icy canyon filled with snowball hurling snowmen, flocks of squawking penguins, woolly mammoths ,and other surprises” that...
  • A DeepStream Toward Treating Pain

         It appears that feeling pain is something that virtual reality can alleviate by tricking the brain into other experiences.That’s the premise behind DeepStream VR. Based in San Francisco and Seattle, the company’s officials believe that “immersive virtual reality can significantly reduce pain, relieve stress, and build resilience,” according to DeepStream’s website. They’re imagining a world where pain can be managed without drugs.DeepStream VR is developing games like...
  • How MIT and Harvard Are Helping to Bring AI to X-rays

    The 9-year-old company Imaging Advantage is creating a machine learning initiative with the research universities called Singularity Healthcare.Chris NewmarkerA machine learning initiative called Singularity Healthcare is bringing the expertise of two top U.S. research universities to bear on developing an intelligent x-ray engine. The initiative, expected to launch this year, is a partnership between Goldman Sachs–backed Imaging Advantage (Santa Monica, CA) and faculty members...
  • 5 Medical Virtual Reality Technologies You Should Know

        Yes, Oculus Rift and Magical Leap are truly mind bending. But here are five companies and technologies that are applying virtual reality to where it matters most: healthcare.Arundhati ParmarWith its ability to create alternate experiences, virtual reality is literally turning heads, no pun intended.From journalism to entertainment to automotive, the power of VR is being harnessed to educate, inform and please.But what’s happening in medical virtual reality? Here are five...
  • Why You Should Care About Medical Device Cybersecurity

    Medical devices in hospitals are being hijacked, and the IT workers aren’t even noticing it, according to a recent report that highlighted real-life cases.Qmed StaffDon't let some shadowy hacker steal information from your medical devices. (Image courtesy of tigerlily713 on Pixabay)Medtech professionals may want to take more notice of cybersecurity issues after the report Anatomy of an Attack, published earlier this year by TrapX Labs, a division of TrapX Security, and described by MD+DI.The...
  • How Organs on Chips Tech Is Making Strides

    A Harvard-born startup is replicating human organs on computer chips to help researchers predict human responses better than cell-culture or animal-based testing can.Nancy CrottiBoston-based Emulate can already produce chips to mimic the human lung, liver, intestine, and skin. (Image courtesy of Emulate)Emulate, based in Boston, just raised $28 Million to commercialize its organs-on-chips technology into a lab-ready system aimed at improving drug development and consumer product design....
  • This Novel Enzyme Could Extend the Life of Implantable Devices

    Harvard scientists have developed a new biochemical method that can extend the life of bioactive films at the site of device implantation. The method could be used to enhance device integration and extend the life of implantables.Kristopher SturgisRendering of evolved staphylococcus aureus sortase A (eSrtA) (Image courtesy of Harvard University)The new technique, developed by researchers from the Harvard Stem Cell Institute, was designed to enable selected molecular constituents in situ to...
  • This 3M Smart Inhaler Tells You How to Use It

    Manufacturing giant 3M is seeking to change the game when it comes to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease treatment.Nancy Crotti The 3M Intelligent Control inhaler includes a roughly 1-in.-by-1½-in. screen to provide patients with real-time instruction on whether they are using the device correctly. (Image courtesy of 3M) 3M has announced a “smart inhaler” that not only connects wirelessly to a smartphone app but has a tiny screen that teaches patients how to use the device.The...
  • Spinal Cord Stimulation to Treat Pain

         There’s been a proliferation of devices that use spinal cord stimulation to treat chronic pain—an especially important therapy given the skyrocketing abuse of painkillers.Menlo Park, CA–based startup Nevro last year won a PMA for its Senza spinal cord stimulation device. Nevro boasts that the Senza device is unique because it relieves chronic pain without causing the tingling sensation called paresthesia—a common side effect among older spinal cord stimulation devices....
  • 4 Ways Pacing Technology Is Being Used Everywhere

         Cardio tech from medical devices such as pacemakers is increasingly being used to treat non-heart-related disorders. Here are four examples of how neuromodulation and neurostimulation devices are making waves in this increasingly lucrative medtech field.Chris NewmarkerThe medical device industry could be entering a golden age when it comes to the use of pacing technology on the nervous system.Neurology-related PMAs in 2015 reached a noticeable level, according to the a...
  • Treating Seizures, and Discovering Insights

         NeuroPace’s RNS System for treating seizures is also providing insights that could advance understanding of epilepsy, a scientist with the company explained last week at the Design of Medical Devices Conference in Minneapolis.The RNS System, approved by FDA in 2013 for reducing the frequency of epileptic seizures in severe cases, is a reversible therapy that does not involve removing any brain tissue. The device is hidden under the scalp and isn’t noticeable. It has...
  • A Pacemaker for the Stomach

        FDA in early 2015 approved the Maestro Rechargeable System made by EnteroMedics (St. Paul, MN). The device targets the nerve that runs between the brain and the stomach to control feelings of hunger and fullness.The Maestro vBloc system is very much like a “pacemaker for the stomach.” It includes a rechargeable electrical pulse generator and wire leads and electrodes that are implanted surgically into the abdomen through a minimally invasive laparoscopic procedure....
  • St. Jude Medical's Brio Device for Parkinson's

         Long dominated by Medtronic, competition is ratcheting up when it comes to using neurostimulation to treat Parkinson’s disease.FDA last year approved St. Jude Medical’s Brio neurostimulation system to help reduce the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease and essential tremor.  The Brio is slightly smaller than Medtronic’s Activa, which the Brio is competing against. The Brio is 1.9-by-2.1-by-0.4 in., while the Activa PC is 1.9-by-2.6-by-0.6 in.FDA cited two clinical...