• Developing Fully Open-Cell Silicones for Implantable Devices

    Biocompatible, chemically inert, and sterilizable, open-cell silicones made using a new manufacturing process are suitable for both short- and long-term implantable applications.In their quest for new medical device materials, designers, developers, and manufacturers have a choice between open- and closed-cell structures. However, while open-cell materials have a range of advantages over their closed-cell counterparts, one of the most common open-cell materials—polyurethane—is primarily used in...
  • We're Getting Closer to Touch-Sensing Artificial Skin

    Prosthetic technology has made some rather large strides over the years, enabling amputees to adapt more and more to the world around them. Recently, all the buzz has been over developing prosthetics that can restore the ability to touch and feel. It was with this in mind, that Stanford engineers recently developed a new wireless pressure sensor that could lead to touch-sensitive skin for prosthetic limbs.In a news release from Stanford University, details were revealed about the new technology...
  • Robots That Play Well with Others

    While robotic systems have revolutionized assembly, they traditionally haven’t been so good at collaborating with others, meaning non-robotic human workers. In fact, it is often dangerous for people to even be near many assembly robots, which are often housed in cages, as we described in a recent post titled “Will Your Next Coworker Be a Robot?” In addition, such systems have been inflexible and difficult to reprogram.Rensselaer professors Jonas Braasch and John Wen stand next to Baxter in the...
  • Coating Could Fight Bacteria and Clotting in Medical Devices

    When it comes to medtech devices, we’ve certainly come a long way over the last decade or so, but two constant challenges remain: blood clotting and bacterial infections. That is, until a team of Harvard scientists began working toward a solution involving a substance similar to Teflon. Photo depicting two glass slides dipped in blood. While blood sticks to the untreated slide on the left, the slide on the right coated in the repellent materials developed by Harvard scientists emerges...
  • How Zimmer Is Managing Cloud Computing

    Look around you. Chances are someone is using cloud computing for one thing or the other. In the home, there are lots of entertainment-related cloud-based applications, like streaming of music and movies. But cloud-based services can also be a productivity booster at the worklplace. Engineers are using the cloud to collaborate remotely. Employees can use the cloud to send large files that are too big to easily send by email. The list of applications is steadily expanding.The use of the cloud in...
  • Why the Cloud Matters for Medtech

    The medical device industry seems rather cautious about following other industries and jumping on the cloud computing bandwagon. But the medtech industry has no choice but to embrace the cloud eventually, says Olayinka James, chief information security officer (CISO) for Zimmer Holdings Inc. (Warsaw, IN). James says it is vital for the industry to make sure that appropriate security measures are in place to keep the data safe.Olayinka James will provide advice at MD&M Minneapolis on...
  • Google Wants to Help You Video Chat with Doctors

    “Google docs” may be taking on a whole new meaning. Google has begun a trial connecting people seeking online medical advice to a physician or other medical professional for a free live chat.It is but another example of ways Google has been breaking into the healthcare space.5 Ways Google Could Transform Medtech, and Maybe Cheat Death (Slideshow)Google’s cofounders may have downplayed that they’re interested in turning the tech giant into a healthcare company. But their...
  • Will Your Next Coworker Be a Robot?

    For decades, industrial workers and much of the media have been claiming that robots and automation are stealing their jobs. But in the case of Toyota, the opposite has been happening, with the iconic automaker bringing more humans into the mix, leveraging their creativity and problem-solving abilities to progressively optimize their manufacturing operations. I, Robot image from WikipediaToyota has been a manufacturing operations pioneer for a long time. (Ever hear of lean manufacturing?...
  • Prosthetics That Feel: The Next Generation Arrives

    One of the greatest challenges facing amputees is not only the missing limb, which can be remedied with any simple prosthetic, but the absence of touch and sensation within the prosthetic. Recently, researchers at a university in Ohio developed a new prosthetic system that enables amputees to experience a variety of sensations.Photo of Igor Spetic holding a cherry tomato with his new prosthetic. In a release from Case Western Reserve University news, researchers spoke about their work with Igor...
  • 3-D Printing Is Here, but Where Are the New Materials?

    3-D printing is the hottest new technology on the block. But for medical devices applications, the lack of suitable 3-D printable materials is inhibiting the widespread adoption of this technology. A key obstacle impeding the introduction of new 3-D printable materials has been low demand, rendering commercialization both difficult and expensive. That’s the bad news. The good news is that efforts to develop new 3-D printable materials for medical device applications are assiduously under way....
  • 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, the...
  • 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...