• Feel the Waves

        Just last year, FDA and the U.S. Department of Justice went after a man who marketed a machine called the Energy Wave. This device “consists of a micro-current frequency generator with a digital readout, two stainless steel cylinders, two personal application plates with connectors and lead wire for the cylinders and plates,” according to a DOJ statement.The company gave buyers an operating manual and a list of codes for 450 digital settings for the device. Among the...
  • Using an Industrial Laser on People?

        A laser is a laser, right? That’s what a California man apparently hoped people would believe when he used an industrial laser to treat their cancer and other medical conditions.“He generally charged these individuals $300 per laser ‘treatment,’” FDA said in a statement about Edward J. Brown. “However, if he ‘treated’ more than one family member, Brown would reduce his fee to $225 per treatment.”Brown was sentenced to two years in federal prison and a year of court...
  • The Dubious Device That Won't Go Away

        Some medtech hoaxes just won’t go away. Take the Toftness Device, marketed by a Wisconsin school of chiropractic to purportedly assist in the diagnosis and treatment of injuries.“There is a reason it looks like PVC piping and couplings…it is pvc piping and couplings!” says the website of the Museum of Quackery, whose collection now resides at the Science Museum of Minnesota.“Add six inexpensive plastic lenses and scan the patient's spine while rubbing the back of...
  • It Emits Sparks, So It Has to Work

         The Tesla Coil, manufactured in the 1920s, produced a  high-voltage, low-current discharge that ionized gases in the glass tubes. The tubes glowed blue emitted sparks when held near the body, convincing the public of their ability to treat a variety of ills from the comforts of their homes.Continue >>Image courtesy of M. Donald Blaufox, MD (www.mohma.org).
  • 7 of the Greatest Medtech Hoaxes Ever

        People will believe a lot of things, especially if they promise to treat or cure medical conditions.Nancy CrottiMany people believe that P.T. Barnum famously declared, “There’s a sucker born every minute.” A quick Google search will put that belief to rest.Even with today’s access to information, some unfortunates will pay for items that don’t do what they promise. The field of medical devices, while highly regulated, still has room for entrepreneurs who would profit from...
  • The 'Miracle' of Oxygen

        The Duplex Oxygenator, circa 1900, had two connectors attached to wires that ended in contacts, which could be strapped onto the patient. It was said to cure disease by oxygen. Continue >>Image courtesy of M. Donald Blaufox, MD (www.mohma.org).
  • For That Formaldehyde Fresh Scent

        The Formaldehyde Generator, from 1910, used a candle to heat solid formaldehyde in a dish to disinfect a room during and after the epidemics of scarlet fever, smallpox, and diphtheria, which were going around in those days. Continue >>Image courtesy of M. Donald Blaufox, MD (www.mohma.org).
  • Medical Device, or Torture Device?

        This counter irritant, from around 1870, may not look threatening. But underneath its cap are three circular rows totaling 35 needles, all for the purpose of puncturing the flesh. Lubricating oil was optional. The idea was to raise blisters and release whatever “force” was causing the illness. This one was a manual model. Others were spring-loaded. Either way, that’s a lot of irritation.Continue >>Image courtesy of M. Donald Blaufox, MD (www.mohma.org).
  • Could Super Steel Give Ortho Implants a Big Boost?

    University of California, San Diego researchers invented a steel alloy that can withstand extreme pressure without bending, nicking, or breaking.Nancy CrottiDifferent levels of crystallinity are embedded in the amorphous matrix of the steel alloy, as shown in these transmission electron microscopy images. (Image courtesy of UCSD) Researchers have fabricated possibly the strongest type of steel ever made.The new steel alloy won’t nick or break unless subjected to extreme amounts of...
  • How AI Is Getting Even Better at Spotting Illness

    Machines equipped with deep-learning algorithms may be as good as humans in detecting cancer in ultrasound images and in identifying it in pathology reports, according to recent news out of Samsung, the Regenstrief Institute, and Indiana University.Nancy Crotti(Image courtesy of holohololand at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)Evidence continues to mount when it comes to the potential of artificial intelligence to help health providers spot signs of illness in patient, including such deadly maladies as...
  • Why Abbott Is Joining the 'Bigger Is Better' Bandwagon

    The Abbott and St. Jude deal underscores how the desire to achieve scale is driving medtech OEMs. Arundhati Parmar(Image courtesy of iStockphoto.com user Nicolás Meroño)In the current healthcare paradigm, it appears that size does matter in the medical device industry.That was in evidence Thursday with the latest megamerger between industry heavyweights. Abbott Labs is purchasing St. Jude Medical for a cool $25 billion.“This is just yet another example where we see the...
  • Is Coal the Future for Electronic Devices?

    Research at MIT suggests that the unique properties of coal could be used as the material basis for a new generation of batteries, solar panels, and other electronic devices—including in the medical device field. Kristopher SturgisPulverized coal (right) is shown with several test devices that MIT researchers made from coal. (Image courtesy of MIT)For decades coal has been a valuable resource that, despite its rich chemical properties, has largely been burned for the purposes of producing...
  • A Virtual Reality Solution to Help Spot Concussions

    Born out of Stanford research, the FDA-cleared Eye-Sync device measures jitter in eye movement.Nancy CrottiEye-Sync goggle wearers use their eyes to follow a dot that travels in a circle for 15 seconds before the test begins again. (Image courtesy of SyncThink)FDA has cleared a virtual reality, eye-tracking headset that can detect concussion symptoms in less than 60 seconds.Eye-Sync, from Boston-based startup SyncThink, is the product of years of research by the Stanford Concussion and...
  • Sharing Medical Realities

        On April 14, London-based Medical Realities became the first in the world to have performed a virtual reality 360-degree live stream of a surgery on a cancer patient to anyone who had a VR headset—be it an Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear, or Google Cardboard—and had downloaded the companion app on their iOS and Android devices.“For the first time, you were in an operating theater when an operation was taking place … and it was as if you were inside the operating theater right next...
  • A DeepStream Toward Treating Pain

         It appears that feeling pain is something that virtual reality can alleviate by tricking the brain into other experiences.That’s the premise behind DeepStream VR. Based in San Francisco and Seattle, the company’s officials believe that “immersive virtual reality can significantly reduce pain, relieve stress, and build resilience,” according to DeepStream’s website. They’re imagining a world where pain can be managed without drugs.DeepStream VR is developing games like...
  • Some Firsthand Tech for Pain Treatment

        Firsthand Tech (Seattle)—which DeepStream VR spun out of—has been developing virtual reality games and consulting in the field for 20 years, although applications went beyond healthcare. It has been credited with the development of the SnowWorld game that is aimed at burn victims who need their dressing changed.The game “transports the patient through an icy canyon filled with snowball hurling snowmen, flocks of squawking penguins, woolly mammoths ,and other surprises” that...
  • Conquer Mobile: Getting the Better of Surgical Training

        Conquer Mobile (Surrey, British Columbia) wants to leverage virtual reality to transform medical education for the express purpose of surgical training.The main targets of the company are perioperative nurses, with the belief that training professionals in the operating room will make it a safer place for patients. The company is also able to create custom apps for medical customers.VR is the next step for the company, given how it has gained experience in the market with its...
  • Creating Some zSpace in the Medical Classroom

        Like Conquer Mobile, zSpace is creating augmented reality and virtual reality tools to enhance education in medicine, even in regular classrooms.Users have to wear a thin pair of polarized glasses with tracking sensors to view the virtual reality on a proprietary display and use a special stylus to interact with the reality presented. So, unlike the examples before, zSpace users don’t get a 360-degree virtual reality experience.The goal of Sunnyvale, CA–based ZSpace is to...
  • How MIT and Harvard Are Helping to Bring AI to X-rays

    The 9-year-old company Imaging Advantage is creating a machine learning initiative with the research universities called Singularity Healthcare.Chris NewmarkerA machine learning initiative called Singularity Healthcare is bringing the expertise of two top U.S. research universities to bear on developing an intelligent x-ray engine. The initiative, expected to launch this year, is a partnership between Goldman Sachs–backed Imaging Advantage (Santa Monica, CA) and faculty members...
  • 5 Medical Virtual Reality Technologies You Should Know

        Yes, Oculus Rift and Magical Leap are truly mind bending. But here are five companies and technologies that are applying virtual reality to where it matters most: healthcare.Arundhati ParmarWith its ability to create alternate experiences, virtual reality is literally turning heads, no pun intended.From journalism to entertainment to automotive, the power of VR is being harnessed to educate, inform and please.But what’s happening in medical virtual reality? Here are five...