• 5 Things Needed to Make Mass-Produced Organs a Reality

    The potential of lab-created organs to improve healthcare is huge, considering the substantial number of patients around the globe waiting for transplants. But creating lab-grown organs is no easy feat, and no manufacturing platforms now exist devoted to mass-produce custom tissue at the patient’s bedside.To lay the groundwork for the creation of such a platform, researchers from North Carolina State University (NC State; Raleigh, NC) and Wake Forest University (Winston-Salem, NC) are joining...
  • Scientists Invent Flexible, Stretchable Circuits with 3-D Printer

    A liquid-alloy pattern 3-D printed in a rubber-like polymer forms a network of sensors. (Courtesy  Rebecca Kramer/Purdue University)Researchers at the Purdue University School of Mechanical Engineering (West Lafayette, IN) have developed a technique to embed a liquid-alloy pattern inside a rubber-like polymer to form a network of flexible sensors.These flexible circuits might be used to produce 'soft machines' made of elastic materials and liquid metals for potential applications in...
  • A Medtech Materials Catch-22

    The medical device industry is stuck in something of a Catch-22 as far as materials are concerned. Only new materials that are reasonably priced and backed by substantial data are attractive to medical device designers. After all, what good are cutting-edge new materials that are unsafe and contribute to wasteful healthcare spending? But creating new materials is a costly enterprise, as is adapting those new materials for mass-production. Furthermore, gathering substantial clinical data to...
  • Nanotech Breath Test Can Detect Lung Cancer

    A device developed by a team of Israeli, American, and British cancer researchers is capable of accurately detecting lung cancer and identifying its stage of progression.The breathalyzer-type tester, embedded with a nanotech chip dubbed the NaNose, can literally "sniff out" cancer tumors. The cancer sniffer was developed by Nir Peled, MD, PhD, of Tel Aviv University's Sackler Faculty of Medicine; Hossam Haick, PhD, the inventor of the NaNose technology, of the Technion – Israel Institute of...
  • Scientists Look to Spiders to Create New Adhesive Methods

    University of Akron (UA; OH) polymer scientists have created synthetic duplicates of patterns used by spiders when constructing webs that may lead to stronger and more efficient commercial and biomedical adhesives that could, for example, potentially attach tendons to bones or bind fractures.“This adhesive architecture holds promise for potential applications in the area of adhesion science, particularly in the field of biomedicine where the cost of the materials is a significant constraint,”...
  • Researchers Trigger Tooth Repair with Low-Power Laser

    Yesterday we wrote about a pair of King's College London researcher/dentists who have developed a technique to repair tooth decay using electric currents.Today we report on a group of researchers at Harvard's Wyss Institute who are working on another way of repairing teeth, this one involving low-powered lasers. The research, which was led by Wyss Institute Core Faculty member David Mooney, PhD, and published in Science Translational Medicine by lead author Praveen Arany, DDS, PhD, lays the...
  • DARPA Seeks to Develop Therapeutic Electric Brain Implants

    The National Institutes of Health (NIH) says, “The Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative is ... aimed at revolutionizing our understanding of the human brain.”Implantable DARPA micro-electrodes can measure brain activity.As part of the BRAIN Initiative, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has awarded contracts to Massachusetts General Hospital (MassGen) and the University of California, San Francisco, (UCSF) to create electrical brain...
  • Customizable Adhesive Technology Fixates on Mobile Medical Devices

    Joe DavinAs the market for mobile, wearable, and patient monitoring devices continues to expand, companies looking to play in these spaces tend to focus on such important aspects as industrial design, ruggedness, algorithms, and miniaturization. But adhesives—critical components of many of these mobile medical devices—often get overlooked until failure or subpar solutions becomes evident, according to Joseph Davin, group president at Scapa Healthcare (Windsor, CT).“All of a sudden, we're...
  • Father Develops Bionic Pancreas for Diabetic Son; Results in NEJM

    It's a good thing that David Damiano's dad is Edward R. Damiano, PhD, an associate professor of biomedical engineering at Boston University.When David, now 15, was 11 months old, he was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. Faced with the necessity of managing his son's condition, Damiano senior shifted the focus of his research and began to work on a better way to regulate blood sugar. Fast forward some 14 years, and Damiano's 'bionic pancreas' has been tested on 52 teenagers and adults and has done...
  • Smartphones Could Help Fuel Personal Genomics Revolution

    Editor's note: More information on this topic is available from our sister publication EETimes.After claiming in January that it brought the cost of sequencing a human genome to $1000, Illumina Inc. has set its sights on a consumer product. The company aims to deliver a chip that plugs into a smartphone, bringing genetic medicine to the individual.The smartphone will become "a molecular stethoscope," said Mostafa Ronaghi, Illumina's chief technology officer, speaking at the Imec Tech Forum in...
  • Samsung Joins Medical Wearables Revolution

    (Editor's note: This is a condensed version of an article originally published in our sister magazine, EE Times. The full-length version is available here.)President and CSO of Samsung Electronics Young Sohn is building a platform for devices and apps that let consumers manage their fitness and ultimately, he hopes, their healthcare.Many others are trying to create this revolution, but few are as high profile as Sohn, the chief strategy officer of Samsung Electronics.At a developer conference...
  • Puzzling Out the Secrets of Lithium Batteries

    Seeking to discover why one variety of lithium ion battery shows such unexpectedly high power and long cycle life, a team of researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT; Cambridge, MA) has employed transmission electron microscopy (TEM) to resolve a longstanding puzzle.The team, led by Ju Li, PhD, and Yet-Ming Chiang, ScD, studied the electrodes of lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) batteries. One of several types of lithium ion batteries, lithium iron phosphate is considered an...
  • Could 3-D Printing Disrupt the Eyeglasses Business?

    We have already seen 3-D printing being used for a woman's skull implant, and to make prosthetics. At least one doctor thinks a fully-functional 3-D printed heart will be possible within 10 years.Adding another accomplishment to the roster of 3-D printing's capabilities, LuxExcel has developed a process that allows complex refractive lenses such as eyeglass lenses to be produced from a 3-D printer. The Goes, Netherlands–based company uses a clear, light-curing plastic that puddles as it is...
  • How St. Jude Is Buying More Than Just a Heart Failure Device

    There is more than meets the eye when it comes to CardioMEMS and its heart failure monitoring device that St. Jude Medical recently acquired for $375 million.Submitted image of the CardioMEMS HF SystemSurgeons implant the smaller-than-a-dime device in a heart failure patient’s pulmonary artery during a minimally invasive procedure. Resulting at-home PA pressure readings from the device provide an early warning to doctors that the patient’s condition is worsening—and hopefully lead to steps...
  • As Medtech Goes Wireless, Learn How to Mitigate Security Risks

    “When it comes to wireless data communications in the medical device sphere, we always have to address an element of serious risk,” remarks Steve Abrahamson, director, product security engineering at GE Healthcare (Milwaukee). “However, there are processes that we can apply to make sure that we’re managing the risk.” This is one of the messages that Abrahamson, together with Geoffrey A. Pascoe, specialist master at Deloitte, will deliver at MD&M East in a joint presentation titled “...
  • Georgia Tech Team Uses Heparin to Improve BMP-2 Delivery

    Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology (Atlanta) have bound bone morphogenetic protein-2 (BMP-2) to heparin microparticles to achieve 1000-fold-greater concentrations of the bone regenerating growth factor than have previously been reported.The greater concentration is hoped to lead to smaller and more-targeted doses of the expensive growth factors. Additionally, the BMP-2 was also found to remain bioactive after long periods of time spent bound to the microparticles.Heparin...
  • Keeping It Sterile Using Bioburden Counts

    For information on sterility assurance levels (SALs), see "How Can You Ensure that Your Device Is Sterile?"When sterilizing medical devices, sterilization personnel rely on bioburden counts as part of determining and maintaining the sterilization process. In the following Q&A, Martell Winters, senior scientist at Nelson Laboratories (Salt Lake City), discusses less-than values in bioburden testing and explains how bioburden alert and action levels are an important part of ensuring the...
  • The Snug Vest: A Wearable Medical Device That Looks Cool

    Industrial designer Lisa Fraser has long had a passion to help kids with autism, but wasn’t sure on the specifics. Then, an idea came to her while studying design at Emily Carr University (Vancouver, BC, Canada). When observing children with autism in the classroom, she noticed some of them would use weighted vests to regulate anxiety. While deep pressure therapy is been shown to be calming for individuals who feel overwhelmed by their environment, saddling children with weights on their...
  • Medtronic Exec: Think Twice before Using Next-Gen Medical Materials

    Some experts complain about the current approach of relying on tried-and-true medical device materials. They say the materials are not optimal and are holding back the medical device industry.Jennifer MillerBut not so fast, says Jennifer Miller, senior director of materials strategy and failure analysis at Medtronic’s Cardiac Rhythm Disease Management business. Miller—who is scheduled to speak at MD&M East, running June 9 through 12 in New York—is all for materials innovation, but also sees...
  • 30 Under 30: Call for Nominations

    We want to know: Who are the most talented young medical device engineers? Specifically, we are looking for nominations for the most innovative-driven engineers and researchers from across the industry—from tiny startups to the biggest multinational firms to university research groups. In the survey below, provide your reason why your nominee is making a difference.Nominations are due by June 10, 2014. Finalists will be selected by June 13.Image modified from Flickr photo. Used under Creative...