• 5 Things You Need to Know About Energy Harvesting

    Max DonelanEnergy harvesting seems like a pretty common sense idea: medical devices powering themselves from the human bodies they serve. But it really isn’t that simple, says Max Donelan, PhD, associate professor of biomedical physiology and kinesiology at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, British Columbia. There are plenty of lessons to be learned.Donelan should know. He is a scientific adviser to a Simon Fraser spinout called Bionic Power that he helped start in 2007. The company’s...
  • How Microsoft Is Getting Wrapped Up in Wearables

    Microsoft has taken an interesting spin on wearable technology, as researchers revealed a smart scarf that has been designed to work in tandem with a smartphone—and eventually work with biometric and emotion sensing devices.The smart scarf contains a sensor that is designed to help determine when you’re feeling down, and react with a warming sensation that helps soothe the body, according to a report from MIT Technology Review. Researchers believe this sensor could be particularly useful for...
  • Validate Your Process Using Design of Experiments

    Design of experiments enables engineers to demonstrate or understand a process while providing information required for achieving regulatory compliance.A valuable method for predicting process variability, design of experiments (DOE) allows medical device engineers to validate their processes in order to improve product quality. On February 12 from 10:45 to 11:15 a.m., Robert Launsby, president of Launsby Consulting, will present a workshop at MD&M West exploring the advantages of the DOE...
  • 5 Risky MIT Research Ventures You Should Know About

    High-risk investments can yield high returns. And such projects are exactly why MIT has set up the Amar G. Bose research grant. The university wants to help fund potentially revolutionary research pursuits that might sound too good to be true and, as such, might encounter difficulties in attracting investment cash.  Many of these ideas are considered impossible to fund through traditional sources, and thus often go unexplored. Such endeavors were of particular interest to Bose, an engineer...
  • Designing Devices to Be More Useful Than You Think

    Andy SchaudtSure, you can build what seems like a really high tech medical device, but is it going to be useful in an actual healthcare environment? And is the wireless functionality you’ve spent so much time integrating into that new device actually going to be useful?With so many changes taking place in the healthcare industry, such answers are rapidly changing for Andy Schaudt, director of usability services for the National Center for Human Factors in Healthcare at the MedStar Institute for...
  • Elastic Waves Boost Medical Imaging

    Elastic waves are an interesting breed of acoustic sound waves that pass through objects leaving a trail of ripples and shockwaves in their path. These elastic waves travel at the surface, or even through material, without causing any permanent changes to the makeup of the substance. In recent years, researchers have been studying these elastic waves, in the hopes of understanding how they move through materials in an effort to better control them to our benefit.Recently, researchers from the...
  • How Lasers Make Super-Hydrophobic Materials

    Researchers from the University of Rochester in New York have taken a significant step in developing hydrophobic materials, with a new technique that enables them to transform metals into extremely water repellent hydrophobic materials, all without the need for temporary coatings.Super-hydrophobic materials have become increasingly desirable for a number of different applications such as rust prevention and anti-icing. Within medtech, hydrophobic materials are of interest for woundcare...
  • Wearable for the Tongue Tackles Traumatic Brain Injury

    This device, which is now in development by Helius Medical and Ximedica, helps people overcome mental deficits caused by traumatic brain injury.Here’s a wearable unlike any you have ever heard of before: a device that connects to the tongue to stimulate the cranial nerves to help treat traumatic brain injury.  The device, which is in development by Helius Medical Technologies (Vancouver) and Ximedica (Providence, RI), was inspired by the work of Paul Bach-y-Rita, an American...
  • How a New Coating Could Enable Tinier Electronics in the Body

    An electrode with Amplicoat, inside an operating room-type environment. Photo courtesy of Biotectix.A University of Michigan spin-off has found a more durable way to enhance electrodes with conductive polymer coatings. The development could further enable the miniaturization of implantable medical devices.An undisclosed medical device company is seeking a CE mark this year for a novel electrophysiology (EP) catheter that uses Biotectix’s Amplicoat, with plans to win an FDA approval soon after,...
  • Look Ma, No Gel: Dry Electrodes Could Enable Longterm EKG

    Researchers from North Carolina State University have developed a potentially transformative technology that can seamlessly track electrophysiological signals, such as electrocardiography (EKG) and electromyography (EMG) signals. The silver nanowire sensors conform to a patient’s skin, creating close contact, according to North Carolina State. Image credit: Yong Zhu. The new sensor could potentially be used for long-term monitoring, and is just as accurate as the “wet electrode”...
  • Amazon VP on Wearables, DNA Sequencing, and Studying Cell Biology

    Amazon’s latest vice president Babak Parviz, PhD, is a symbol of the blurring lines between medical technology and consumer technology. The former director of the secretive Google[x] research facility, Parviz helped innovate both Google Glass and the company’s glucose-sensing contact lens. He has also been involved in a medical diagnostics project that resulted in the founding of a firm called Claros Diagnostics Inc., played a role in developing an inexpensive method of detecting HIV, and has...
  • Avoid Glitches: Validate Your Process Automation Software

    Process validation in the medical device sphere is no simple matter. To get a grasp on how to solve tough software process automation glitches, MD&M West will be offering two sessions on overhauling process validation. On Thursday, February 12 from 1:00 to 1:30 p.m., software experts can participate in a hands-on session focusing on validating process automation software. Headed by Vincent DeFrank, software validation manager at Philips Healthcare, the session will address the kinds of...
  • 6 Reasons 3-D Printing Will Take Over Medtech

    Rob Richards3-D printing has been around for decades. But in medtech, it is still mostly a prototyping technology. The situation could soon change, and 3-D printing could catch on for manufacturing medical devices, says Rob Richards, business development manager for Orchid Design (Shelton, CT), which is part of Holt, MI–based orthopedic contract manufacturer Orchid. In Orchid’s space, about 90% of 3-D printing is used for prototyping, 7% is used to make surgical instruments, and 3%...
  • 20 Highlights of MD&M West 2015

    The huge MD&M West conference and exposition continues its growth trajectory as the show turns 30 this year. Running this year from February 10–12 at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, CA, the event will feature a plethora of technologies and an impressive lineup of speakers discussing everything from wearables to innovations that have shaped the medical device industry over the past three decades.February 101. Keynote: Computers We Can Wear | 9:30 a.m. Hear from the man who helped...
  • Controversial Wearable Device Could Debut Soon

    The GoBe wristband is either a revolutionary device, a scam, or something in between. Its maker, HealBe (Moscow), says the device can measure caloric intake, calories burned, heart rate, stress levels, hydration levels, and sleep quality. Available for sale in the U.S. for $299.99, the brand-new device is supposed to start shipping in March. But is it for real?While the device earned over a $1 million on IndieGogo and received considerable buzz last week at CES, it is debatable how accurate the...
  • How 6 Medical Materials Fare in 3-D Printing

    Severine ZygmontMaterials have been a major hurdle when it comes to 3-D printing customized implantable medical devices. But Oxford Performance Materials (South Windsor, CT) has seen some success when it comes to using polyetherketoneketone (PEKK) for patient-specific cranial devices and facial devices.Oxford spent five years honing down its manufacturing process with EOS-made sintering machines so that it could 3-D print PEKK structures layer by layer while still retaining up to 90% of...
  • A Tattoo That Does Away with Finger Pricking for Diabetics

    As any diabetic knows, pricking your finger repeatedly for a blood-glucose test is not exactly a fun ordeal. Thankfully, researchers are working on an alternative method that will be completely painless and needle-free, a rub-on temporary tattoo.The ultrathin, flexible device was created by Joseph Wang and his colleagues at the University of California, San Diego in an effort to develop a sensor that could effectively measure glucose levels with the same efficiency as finger-pricking, according...
  • 5 Things Medtech Leaders Need to Know About Lean Manufacturing

    Darren DolcemascoloBy Darren Dolcemascolo, EMS Consulting Group For more than 20 years, companies in nearly every industry, including many in the medical device field, have adopted Lean Manufacturing practices with varying degrees of success. Here are five key lessons that medical device designers should apply:1. Lean Manufacturing is not only for manufacturing.It turns out that any enterprise can apply the lean philosophy. Lean is a continuous improvement philosophy by which we...
  • Who Is to Blame When DIY Medical Devices Fail?

     The developers of the Nightscout, an open-source remote-monitoring system, are working with the FDA on the presubmission process to officially clear it for market approval. The do-it-yourself (DIY) movement has never been more popular in the medtech industry than in recent years, as the needs of consumers continues to become more and more specialized. But does such a decision come at any cost to those simply seeking to improve their devices?Just last month, Wired ran a story on one of...
  • DIY Device Helps an Injured NBA Player Return to the Court

     After being drafted out of high school, Jonathan Bender seemed poised for stardom in basketball. Playing for the Indiana Pacers in his first NBA game in 1999, he scored 10 points in 13 minutes, becoming the first player drafted from high school to score double figures in an NBA debut. In the next couple of years, however, his left knee began to give him trouble, and he later had arthroscopic surgery to address the problem. The procedure only made things worse, and he was forced to retire...