• Ebola-Fighting Technologies Come to the Fore

    After Ebola hit U.S. soil September 30, interest in the disease reached a new fervor. The virus is notorious for the severity of its symptoms, which can include internal and external bleeding and prove fatal for many patients. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), no proven treatment for Ebola has yet to be developed.Several companies are responding to WHO call for the life sciences industry to help fight the Ebola crisis. Medical technology innovators have come forward with...
  • Digital Health Funding Hits $3B Mark

    The third quarter numbers for 2014 are in and digital health funding has risen to over $3 billion, up from the $2.3 billion figure reported at the same time last year. According to a report from digital health incubator Rock Health, total 2014 dollars raised has steadily increased through the third quarter, indicating that digital health funding will continue to rise to meet market demands.StartUp Health, a similar organization to Rock Health, also tracks digital health investment. StartUP...
  • How to Navigate Medical Device Radio Regulations

    Medical device companies sometimes seem as though they’re playing catch-up with high tech when it comes to using wireless communications tools. But there may be a pretty simple reason: “There’s a lot more regulatory approvals required,” says Nicholas Abbondante, chief engineer at Intertek.Sure, medical device industry professionals are pretty used to regulations, and the way they vary from country to country. They need to be prepared for a different animal of a problem, however, when adding in...
  • What a Millennial Thinks of Medtech's Future

    From equating success with benefiting the common good to an ease discussing wearables and other mobile health technologies, Arjun Venkatachalam is certainly a member of his generation. And he also happens to be one of the bright, rising engineering stars in the medical device industry.Arjun Venkatachalam was featured in our 30 under 30 roundup of medtech innovators.Venkatachalam received the most nominations for inclusion in Qmed/MPMN’s 30 under 30 roundup of medtech innovators. Now,...
  • Why the Future of Wearables Is Invisible

    Think the future of health tracking will be dominated by wrist-worn and other wearable devices? Think again, says Stuart Karten, founder and president of Los Angeles–based design firm Karten Design.The founder of Karten Design, Stuart Karten works with both the consumer technology and medical device sectors. The future of wearables is invisible, Karten explained at the 2014 Body Computing Conference at the University of Southern California on October 3. “‘Invisible’ means moving technology into...
  • What You Need to Know about Medtech Coatings

    Coatings are a crucial component of many medtech technologies, enabling medical devices to be inserted into tight body spaces. On Wednesday, October 29, Keith Edwards, president and CEO of Biocoat Inc. (Horsham, PA), will speak to a range of issues in a presentation at MD&M Minneapolis titled “Design and Manufacturing Considerations for Medical Device Coatings.” In the following Q&A, Edwards provides a foretaste of the topics he will address in his talk.MPMN: Please give examples of...
  • Paralyzed Rats Walk Thanks to Spinal Stimulation and Software

    Swiss researchers have created a way to precisely control the motor functions of paralyzed individuals through spinal stimulation, Science Translational Medicine reports.The paralyzed rat could walk on its hind legs with support of its upper body. Grégoire Courtine, MD, of the Center for Neuroprosthetic and Brain Mind Institute of the Life Science School at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Lausanne (EPFL), and his team used electric stimulation devices to give rats with severed spinal...
  • Activist Investors Erupt at Volcano

    Engaged Capital might want to rename itself “Enraged Capital.” The Newport Beach, CA private equity firm is demanding that Volcano Corp. sell itself.Glenn Welling, founder of Engaged, sent the cardiovascular imaging equipment company’s board of directors a stinging letter, rebuking company executives for overpromising earnings while overcompensating themselves.Volcano recently forecasted falling short of its earnings target again, marking misfires in six of the last seven quarters, according to...
  • How Scotch Tape Is Driving Diagnostics Breakthroughs

    Something pretty similar to Scotch Tape could enable some major innovation in the IVD space—if a young St. Paul, MN–based company called Ativa Medical has its way.Scotch Tape is something people in the Twin Cities know a lot about: The iconic product is made by 3M Co, based on the east side of the metro in Maplewood. And it is sheets of 3M adhesive polymer that provided a savvy solution for producing Ativa’s business card-sized test cards for blood samples.Researchers at the six-year-old...
  • Meet the Material Behind the World's Most Popular Artificial Heart

    A person’s heart beats roughly 100,000 times in one day and more than 2.5 billion times in a typical life span, according to PBS. Imagine the challenge of developing an artificial heart that can match that durability.One of the difficulties was finding a material that is up for the job. Total artificial heart maker SynCardia Systems Inc. (Tucson, AZ) found that segmented polyurethane was ideal for the task. After testing the material against an array of different materials, the company found...
  • 2 Mistakes You Should Avoid with Medical Plastics Sterilization

    With 15 years of experience consulting on polymers in the medical device field, Stephen Spiegelberg has spotted plenty of mistakes to avoid when it comes to sterilizing medical plastics.Here are two major mistakes that Spiegelberg, president of Boston-based Cambridge Polymer Group, says you should avoid:1. Choosing the Wrong Sterilization MethodThere are three major sterilization methods: ethylene oxide, gamma radiation, or electron beam radiation.“The common issue we see with companies new to...
  • Medtech Biocompatibility Testing Is Seeing a Major Shift

    There’s been a change afoot in the medical device industry in the way companies test for biocompatibility—with a shift away from animal tests toward chemical characterization tests in the laboratory, according to Thor Rollins, a biocompatibility expert at Nelson Laboratories. Nelson Labs analyst using a GC-MS to perform chemical evaluations. (Image courtesy of Nelson Labs)“It was only …. in the last year and a half that there has really been a strong push by the FDA to get involved. … It...
  • DIY Engineers Hack Healthcare

    The do-it-yourself (DIY) movement is exploding, and intrepid consumers are developing custom code and hardware for everything from smartphones to televisions. In recent years, the practice has made its way into the medtech industry, as patients began opening the hood on devices like glucose monitors, insulin pumps, hearing aids, and heart monitors just to name a few. These hackers aren’t only tweaking devices for themselves; they’re illuminating the light bulb for the rest of the industry,...
  • Software Upgrades Make This Assembly Robot Ever-More Powerful

    In a way, a two-armed robot called Baxter is similar to a smartphone. The capabilities of the robot can be expanded through software updates. “We have developers coming up with software that enables Baxter to do things we never dreamed of,” says Carl Palme, product manager at Rethink Robotics (Boston), which developed Baxter.For instance, researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnical Institute (Troy, NY) recently integrated the 165-lb. robot in an electric wheelchair to create an assistive system...
  • Study: Google Glass Improves Surgeon's Performance

    Word on the street is that head-mounted displays like Google Glass are a solution looking for a problem to solve. As one article put it: Nobody knows what it's for.But as it turns out, Google Glass and similar technologies may end up playing an important role in medicine—especially in surgery. In the past couple of years, scores of surgeons have tested out the technology, often with rave reviews. To date, however, hard data were lacking about its benefits in the operating room (OR), however.A...
  • Apple's HealthKit Stumbles Out of the Gate

    Apple’s health-tracking app, known as HealthKit, has finally made its debut after months of hype—but it’s been a pretty rocky start.After its release was delayed from the initial rollout of iOS8, the app was bundled into the ill-fated iOS 8.0.1 software update, which included software glitches for touch ID, the Safari Web browser, and even the keyboard and the phone’s ability to access cellular reception. The new iOS 8.0.2 update should fix those problems, Apple says, while enabling consumers...
  • The Battery-Free Chip That Could Power Your Devices

    As technology continues to shrink and automate the world around us, two major challenges are inescapable: finding a sufficient power source, and procuring the aforementioned power source at a reasonable cost.Recently, Amin Arbabian, an assistant professor of electrical engineering at Stanford University, developed a battery-free chip the size of ant that he maintains will cost only a few cents to make. The device is so energy efficient that it gathers power from the electromagnetic waves that...
  • Designing Next-Generation TAVI Technology

    Boston Scientific has just announced the enrollment of the first U.S. patients in a clinical trial of its Lotus valve system. The company hails the device as a second-generation transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI) technology, which was developed to overcome design limitations of the first generation TAVI products, which are now marketed by Edwards Lifesciences and Medtronic.“The Lotus valve design was based on observations, in the early 2000s, of the progress of the PVT valve, which...
  • Ebola-fighting Device Announced Out of Harvard

    A new “biospleen” device being developed by scientists at Harvard University may help Ebola patients, according to a recent Washington Post article.Researchers at Harvard’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering developed the blood-cleansing device to combat sepsis. More than a decade earlier, other scientists wrote in the Journal of Infectious Diseases that some aspects of the Ebola virus mimic the activity of severe bacterial infections, leading to septic shock, in which the...
  • Robots with Super Dexterity Could Be Game Changer for Medtech

    Updated September 29, 2014Robots—including those in both manufacturing and surgery—may end up showing more dexterity than ever, thanks to a wave of sensor advances.GelSight CEO Bill Yost, for example, sees potential in the space for the MIT-developed sensor technology the Cambridge, MA–based company has been seeking to commercialize, even though the company is concentrating on other sectors for now.GelSight might show promise determining whether skin cells or cancerous, or conducting a...