• How 3-D Printing Is Changing Cardio and Ortho Applications

    While 3-D printing is catching on, medical device manufacturers should consider it carefully before jumping in head first.Bob MichaelsMaterialise’s patient-specific cranial implant printed using porous titanium.Several speakers will take the podium at MD&M East to offer their insights into 3-D printing. Among them will be Colleen Wivell, biomedical engineering manager at Materialise (Plymouth, MI), a provider of 3-D printing software and services. On June 11, Wivell will join a panel of...
  • When Is Bluetooth LE Useful in Medical Devices?

    Bluetooth’s latest iteration Bluetooth Low Energy is providing plenty of opportunity for medical device designers, but the technology also has its downsides. Chris NewmarkerBluetooth LE (which stands for "low energy") is a popular protocol for medical device communications and for good reason: In addition to its low energy consumption implied in its name, it is also relatively inexpensive and offers connectivity with most smartphones.“If you take a look at the medical device and drug delivery...
  • 4 IoT Trends Medtech Firms Should Watch

    2015 may go down as the year that the Internet of Things went big.Joanna RotterThe Internet of Things (IoT) seems to be on everyone’s lips these days.Only today, Samsung debuted a new push into the arena with an array of technologies that could make it easier to integrate computing horsepower into everything from fitness trackers to light bulbs.Verizon's $4.4 billion acquisition of AOL could also play a role in making the Internet of Things widespread.And then last week, Bosch unveiled its own...
  • Desktop 3-D Printer Takes on Infections and Cancer

    Researchers at Louisiana Tech are using an inexpensive 3-D printer to make novel medical implants.Brian BuntzLouisiana Tech doctoral student Jeffery Weisman uses a MakerBot 3-D printer to create antibacterial beads.The MakerBot line of 3-D printers are slick. The printers have won a slew of awards including a variety of CES prizes. A MakerBot was named one of the best inventions of 2012 by Time magazine, the overall winner in the 3-D printing category and product of the year in Popular...
  • Why Molding Is Coming Back Home

    Reshoring of injection molding tooling is helping U.S. firms address manufacturing headaches.Brian BuntzReshoring isn’t just a buzzword. In recent years, there has been a big upswing of industrial production marching back to the United States from low-cost destinations such as Asia and Mexico.And few companies have had such an opportunity to witness the reshoring as C&J Industries (Meadville, PA), an injection molder founded in 1962. In a four year time frame, more than 135 molds were...
  • Next Up for 3-D Printing: Biocompatible Nanotechnology

    Developing customized materials and processes is key to extending 3-D printing to the manufacture of biocompatible nanotechnologies. Bob MichaelsExamples of 3-D printed drug-delivery devices.Medical device manufacturers have their sights on 3-D printing in order to fabricate components, medical instruments, and such devices as orthopedic implantables. However, to create implantable devices, manufacturers must have access to a range of biocompatible materials. David Mills, professor of...
  • Super-Rugged RFID Can Survive All Forms of Sterilization

    The ultra high frequency (UHF) radio frequency TegoChip can easily stand up to gamma, eBeam, autoclave, and ethylene oxide sterilization without performance degradation.Brian BuntzIt turns out that an RF technology originally developed for the aerospace industry is incredibly rugged. Developed by Tego Inc. (Waltham, MA), the technology can survive radiation doses as high as 1000 kilogray (100,000,000 rad). Radiation doses in the range of 2 to 10 gray can be fatal for humans. At the epicenter of...
  • 7 Ways You Can Be Sure Your Supplier Is a Good Match

    In these days of budgetary cutbacks, establishing mutually beneficial, ongoing relationships with suppliers has never been more crucial to the ongoing success of OEMs. Here are seven supplier traits that indicate you’re going to have a good match.Tara McCutchen, Zeus Inc. As a medical device manufacturer, you’re expected to deliver high-performing, cost-saving devices. However, OEMs are feeling the need—and seeing the benefit—of looking to their suppliers to function as an extension of...
  • How to Create a Custom Motor in 11 Days

    Maxon Motor has created a program designed to speed the assembly of bespoke motors.Brian BuntzSeveral years ago, engineers at Maxon Motor (Fall River, MA) noticed that the majority of their customers across industries were specifying custom motors. But, in the past, the problem with custom motors is that they had been slow to make. “Normally, you had to wait four to six weeks—sometimes longer—to get a customized product,” says Debora Setters, national marketing manager for the company.About two...
  • Teenage Inventor Is Making a Novel Spinal Implant

    Harry Paul, a freshman at Tufts University who has developed a scoliosis device, had some words of wisdom for medical device developers at BIOMEDevice Boston.Brian BuntzHarry Paul shows off one of the many prototypes for his device at BIOMEDevice Boston.Harry Paul spent three years in high school working on a spinal implant, eventually partnering with the K2M Group (Leesburg, VA) to refine its design and file a patent for it.Born with a congenital form of scoliosis, Paul underwent 16 spinal...
  • Why There Are Some Exciting Possibilities for Metallic Glass

    Researchers are exploring the potential of metallic glass as a versatile, pliable material that’s stronger than steel, with a bevy of possible applications. Kristopher SturgisMetallic glass nanorods (Image courtesy of Yale University)Yale University engineers have discovered a unique method for designing metallic glass nanostructures across a wide range of chemicals, a technique that could have applications for everything from watch parts to phone casings to implantable medical devices.Metallic...
  • This Is How You Turn Your Smartphone Into a Microscope

    Researchers create an optical lens that can be attached to virtually any smartphone to amplify images by a magnitude of 120, for just 3 cents a lens. Kristopher SturgisThe microscope lens, shown here attached to a smartphone, would only cost 3 cents to produce in bulk. (Image courtesy of the University of Houston)These days, turning smartphones into useful alternative devices is far from a novel idea,. From collecting and measuring DNA samples, to measuring cell counts and possibly detecting...
  • Inside the Design of a Vein-Imaging System

    Get an inside scoop on the design process from a Enercon Technologies vice president.Brian Buntz and Chris NewmarkerEnercon Technologies (Gray, ME) helped design a vein-imaging system that enables clinicians to clearly see peripheral veins.The system from VueTek Scientific (Gray, ME) is designed to reduce IV needles stick attempts, referrals to central lines, complications, and costs.Qmed/MPMN editor-in-chief Brian Buntz caught up this week with Larry Bell, Enercon Technologies’ ‎vice president...
  • Key Things to Learn About the State of the Medtech States

    Minnesota now has more medtech jobs than Massachusetts, but the Bay State still remains a strong hub.Chris NewmarkerMassachusetts is slipping when it comes to number of medtech jobs. That was one of a number of enlightening statistics in a new report that KPMG has produced for MASSMedic.The report was released as part of the new Massachusetts Medtech Week that involves the holding of both the MassMEDIC Conference and BIOMEDeviceBoston on May 6 to 7 at the Boston Convention Center. (A similar...
  • 5 Lessons from Dean Kamen

    Speaking from the Center Stage of BIOMEDevice Boston, Dean Kamen asked engineers to help inspire the younger generation to study science and technology.The famed inventor had plenty to say in a keynote address at BIOMEDevice Boston.Brian BuntzAt BIOMEDevice Boston on May 6, Segway inventor and veteran medical device inventor Dean Kamen had some words of wisdom for engineers—gained from his experience developing an array of products (ranging from the first insulin pump to a mind-controlled...
  • How 3-D Printing Can Help Accelerate Fluidic Manifold Delivery

    3-D printing could very well be the solution for in vitro diagnostic instruments companies in need of once-costly fluidic manifold prototypes.Heidi Lechner, IDEX Corp.While fluidic manifolds can help designers of in vitro diagnostic instruments improve the performance of their products, they have traditionally only been practical for large, established instrument makers. That is changing, however, and today, even startups on tight timelines and with restricted development budgets can benefit...
  • What's Up with Direct Metal Printing?

    Standardization of 3-D printing technology is still an ongoing process, but the development of technology-specific standards will facilitate its adoption in the medical device industryBob MichaelsAn orthopedic implant created using direct metal 3-D printing.Much ink has been spilled about the virtues of 3-D printing. At the same time, all experts (and fans) acknowledge that the technology still has a long row to hoe before the medical device industry can adopt it fully. At MD&M East on June...
  • Why Metal Finishing Matters in the Medtech Industry

    Metal finishing removes burrs, improves corrosion resistance, increases part longevity, and creates an ultraclean, sanitary finish.Bob MichaelsMetal finishing processes are crucial for manufacturing titanium screws.The medical device industry faces multiple challenges when it comes to manufacturing reliable, hygienic, and compliant parts and devices, remarks Tom Glass, president of Able Electropolishing (Chicago). Thus, medical device manufacturers should perform a range of finishing operations...
  • Is Healthcare Going to See an Uber? These 3 Things Should Give You Pause

    Deepak PrakashSome experts think healthcare is ripe for an Uber- or Airbnb-type disruption. But Deepak Prakash at Vancive Medical Technologies is more of a realist.Chris NewmarkerTalk to someone in fields such as medical sensors and wearables, and odds are you’ll hear a lot of words such as “revolutionary,” “disruptive,” and “game changing.” (Qmed/MPMN has repeated plenty of those words itself.)In reality, people may have to wait 20 to 30 years for healthcare to truly change, says Deepak...
  • Could Pacemakers Use Energy Harvesters? This Professor Thinks So

    Amin KaramiAmin Karami at the University of Buffalo found a materials solution to overcome a design challenge related to energy harvesting from the heart.Chris NewmarkerThe dream of pacemakers that make their own power still seems years if not more than a decade away, but a University of Buffalo professor’s work may be bringing it closer to reality.As a postdoc research fellow at the University of Michigan and now as a professor at Buffalo since 2013, Amin Karami has found more effective...