• 5 Medical Technologies That Blew an Astronaut's Mind

    After four space flights, it might seem like very little would impress astronaut Leroy Chiao. But in a keynote address at MD&M East, he marveled at these medical technologies. Jamie HartfordChiaoAstronaut Leroy Chiao has traveled to space four times, lived for more than six months on the International Space Station, and logged dozens of hours in spacewalks—pretty mind-blowing stuff. But in a June 14 keynote address at MD&M East in New York City, he marveled at many of the medical...
  • How a Decorative Plant Could Boost Medical Adhesives

    Researchers from Ohio State University aim to exploit the unique molecular properties of the common ivy plant to boost adhesive technologies in wound healing.Kristopher SturgisThe study began, in part, as a quest to find bioadhesives that could aid in wound healing after injury or surgery—but soon evolved into a complete exploration of the tiny particles responsible for one of nature’s most vigorously determined grippers, the English ivy plant. These remarkable plants latch onto trees and...
  • Modifying a Glucose Detecter to Find Zika

        (Image courtesy of University of Alberta)A team of researchers at the University of Alberta is seeking to transform a glucose detector into a point-of-care diagnostic for Zika. Virologists led by Tom Hobman reported in February that they were starting to make antibodies of the virus, identifying peptides required for the assay. The next step is to screen the Zika virus antibodies against the Zika protein that they want to detect. At the same time they need to ensure the...
  • Ignore 3-D Printing at Your Peril

    When it comes to medical devices, 3-D printing is growing up. Worrell Design's Derek Mathers explains how 3-D printing will evolve the next generation of medical technology. Derek Mathers, Worrell DesignGoogle invested $100 million in Carbon to commercialize its high-speed CLIP (Continuous Liquid Interface Production) process, which uses ultra high-performance urethanes. Johnson and Johnson has already forged a medical device partnership with the company. (Image courtesy of Carbon)A...
  • Genetic Modification to Fight Zika

        The Aedes aegypti mosquito is a major spreader of Zika, and is found across much of the southern half of the continental United States. (Image courtesy of Muhammad Mahdi Karim GFDL 1.2)Genetically modified male mosquitoes, encoded with genes that could limit the mosquito population over time, are another option. The males mate with females in the wild, with their offspring dying in the larval stage.British firm Oxitec has found success trying out the technique...
  • Zika Is Spreading: What Medtech Can Do

        Zika infection during pregnancy can cause microcephaly, illustrated above, as well as other severe brain defects. (Image courtesy of CDC)Already a problem in Latin America, the mosquito-born virus could soon be spreading in the continental U.S. Find out some of the medical device solutions for fighting the disease.Chris NewmarkerMosquito-born Zika virus has turned into a pandemic across Latin America, and has already reached the continental United States via travelers....
  • An FDA-Authorized Zika Test

        This digitally-colorized transmission electron micrograph (TEM) shows Zika virus. (Image courtesy of CDC/Cynthia Goldsmith)Quest Diagnostics in April announced FDA emergency use authorization for its Zika virus RNA qualitative real-time test (Zika RT-PCR test).The proprietary molecular test allows for detection of RNA from the Zika virus in serum from human blood. Quest’s test, made by its Focus Diagnostics business, was the first commercial test to receive an...
  • Testing Both Blood and Urine for Zika

        This marketing image shows one of Altona Diagnostics' RealStar PCR kits in action. (Image courtesy of Altona Diagnostics)In May, FDA granted an emergency use authorization for the RealStar Zika virus RT-PCR kit, made by Altona Diagnostics GmbH (Hamburg, Germany). The test is meant to provide detection of RNA from Zika in serum from human blood, or urine. (The urine is collected alongside a patient-matched serum specimen.)The workings of the RealStar test, as described in the...
  • Developing a Practical and Cost Effective Zika Test

        This black cartridge includes the paper-based Zika diagnostic test. (Photo courtesy of MIT)FDA may have granted emergency use authorizations for Zika tests, but these are still tests that need to go to laboratories meeting specific qualifications. The existing tests, which search for pieces of the viral genome in serum from human blood, can also take days to week to produce lab results.What if there could be a practical and cost effective Zika diagnostic tool for widespread...
  • Detecting a Single Virus in Urine

        The researchers demonstrated their new technique on a the murine cytomegalovirus, which is related to a herpes virus, shown here. There could be potential to use the same test to find Zika. (Image courtesy of the University of Texas at Austin)Another potential research avenue involving Zika detection involves work being done at the University of Texas at Austin. The Texas researchers have come up with a test that can rapidly detect a single virus in urine. Their...
  • This New Lab Seeks to Make Better Batteries

    Is Michigan going to become the go-to place for battery innovation? Chris Newmarker(Image courtesy of University of Michigan)The University of Michigan is touting its new 2700-square-foot Battery Fabrication and Characterization User Facility, which has the goal of making lighter, safer, more cost-effective batteries for medical devices, automobiles, and more. Ford Motor Co. and the Michigan Economic Development Corp. helped the university pay for the roughly $9 million lab, which...
  • Google Spin-Off Verily May Have Overhyped Tech

    Verily allows for hits and misses, the company responds.Nancy CrottiThe glucose-reading contact lens that Verily is working on with Novartis? It’ll never work, outside sources told STAT. (Image courtesy of Verily)Big ideas sometimes fall flat. That’s apparently OK with the folks at Google’s life sciences sister company, Verily, but not so much with skeptical outside scientists.That’s the fallout from a report earlier this week on the Boston Globe’s science and health website STAT...
  • Is the Humble Fax Really Hindering Mobile Health?

    The laments of digital health entrepreneurs make one wonder why health providers aren't still using stones and chisels or papyrus scrolls, too. Arundhati ParmarAt the Digital Health Summer Summit that kicked off alongside the BIO annual conference in San Francisco on Monday, the cool factor of the sector was on display. But is it enough to be cool in healthcare?You had the morning keynote from Shafi Ahmed, the U.K surgeon who enlightened the audience about the role virtual reality can play...
  • New Plastics to Create Medical Device Innovation

    Materials innovation has been slow-growing in the medical device space. But Qmed’s sister UBM media outlet Design News has found examples of plastics that are making a difference. Qmed StaffCovestro's Makroblend M525 is meant for wearable medical devices. (Image courtesy of Covestro)The medical device industry is so heavily regulated, there is a wariness to try out new materials—with innovators turning to the same materials such as polyether and silicone over the decades. There...
  • These Might Be the Best Stretchy Circuits Yet

    The new circuitry was created with unprecedented speed and flexibility, and was designed to usher in the next generation of wearable technologies for mobile health.The new integrated circuit is stretchy, and can adhere to the skin. (Image courtesy of UW–Madison) Kristopher SturgisThe tiny technology was created to serve as a platform for manufacturers who are looking to expand the applications of wearable electronics, particularly in the realm of biomedical devices. The engineers designed...
  • Medtronic Is Saving a Tasmanian Devil's Life

    Veterinary surgeon implants Medtronic pacemaker into endangered zoo animal.Nancy CrottiPlacing the pacemaker in Nick’s belly was also a smart choice, since Tasmanian devils tend to bite one another. (Image courtesy of San Diego Zoo)A Tasmanian devil at the San Diego Zoo can get back to his devilish ways, thanks to a Medtronic pacemaker.Nick, a 6-year-old Tasmanian devil, received the second pacemaker every implanted into a member of his species, on May 11. He was returned to his enclosure last...
  • Welcome to the World of Automated DNA Origami

    U.S. researchers have created an algorithm that can build DNA nanoparticles automatically. Chris Newmarker The algorithm starts with a 3-D geometric representation of the final shape of the object, and then figures out how it can be assembled from DNA. (Image courtesy of MIT)A new algorithm could do away with the need to laboriously build complex DNA shapes by hand, according to the MIT-led research team that developed it.The algorithm, called DAEDALUS (DNA Origami Sequence Design...
  • How Micro-Location Could Boost Healthcare IoT

    New ultra-wideband wireless technology is enabling location detection within centimeters versus meters, according to a report by the website Internet of Things Institute. Qmed Staff Move over GPS. A new wireless technology called ultra-wideband could enable more Internet of Things innovation, including in the medical device space, because of its ability to determine exact location of tagged objects.The Internet of Things Institute recently reported on DecaWave (Dublin, Ireland) and...
  • Could We Get Robots to Make Babies?

    Dutch researchers say they have a proof of concept. Chris NewmarkerThe robot baby (right) has combined traits from both of its parents (left). (Image courtesy of VU Amsterdam) It might be possible someday to "breed" robots, allowing the robots themselves to select out what traits are most "attractive" in environments with unanticipated challenges.  That is the tantalizing idea presented by a research team at VU Amsterdam, who say they have demonstrated a rudimentary...
  • Guess Which States Are Best for Engineering Jobs

    OK, Massachusetts was at the top of the list. But there were also surprises in the rankings from EngineerJobs.com.Qmed StaffEngineerJobs.com recently came out with a list of the best U.S. states to find an engineering job. Massachusetts was the top state, with 3.78 engineering jobs per 1000 people, 24,772 average quarterly jobs, and annual engineering jobs growth of 16.74%. That's not a huge surprise: Massachusetts ranks high for technology and innovation, and is...