• A New Blood Clot Strengthening Polymer You Should Know About

    The polymer, developed at the University of Washington, is inspired by a natural protein.Qmed StaffThis 3-D rendering shows fibrin forming a blood clot, with PolySTAT (in blue) crosslinking the strands. (Image courtesy William Walker/University of Washington)A new injectable polymer could strengthen blood clots and in the process save lives on the battlefield and elsewhere when medical attention isn’t immediately available, according to a report in Qmed’s sister UBM publication, Plastics Today....
  • Could Nanoparticles Be Useful Lung Infection Fighters?

    Researchers have hope in nanoparticles loaded with antibiotics.Kristopher SturgisStaphylococcus aureus was as the target bacteria in the experiments. (Image courtesy of Helmholtz Center for Infection Research)An international team of researchers thinks nanoparticles when it comes to delivering antibiotics directly to the site of an infection, and helping prevent bacteria from forming biofilms that protect the infection from the antibiotics.Researchers from Germany, Brazil, and...
  • How Google Is Fighting Ebola, One Contagion Free Tablet at a Time

    The technology giant has developed a tablet computer with antivirus protection—that is, protection from the viruses that actually kill people.Chris Newmarker and Brian BuntzGoogle's pathogen-resistant tablet computer is the latest in a string of healthcare-related technologies developed by the company. Image from Médecins Sans Frontières.  Although Google’s co-founders have downplayed the importance of healthcare for its business, the company has steadily introduced a range of medical-...
  • Medtech Is Going Wireless, But Risks Still Abound

    A common risk-stratification approach and risk-management culture can go a long way toward closing the gaps that exist in the areas of wireless device safety, security, and effectivenessBob MichaelsOver the past three or four years, regulators have been shedding greater light on the wireless medical device space, providing guidance documents and other public signaling mechanisms. In collaboration with standards development organizations, regulators have been busily recognizing more and more...
  • Molding System Can Fuse Nine Flavors of Silicone into One

    A new molding technique reduces the variability and the cost of multishot molding.Brian BuntzA smartphone case highlighting a new molding process from Dow Corning and Silcotech was on display at MD&M West.Medical device companies have warmed to multishot molding over the years, but the technology can become prohibitively expensive—especially so when the molding operation involved three or four separate materials.To solve that problem, Dow Corning hooked up with Silcotech to create a...
  • This Remarkable New 3-D Printing Technology Could Really Matter

    A UNC-Chapel Hill spinoff touts its new Terminator 2–inspired CLIP technology that promises printing speeds 25 to 100 times faster than what’s out there.Chris NewmarkerCLIP technology in action. (Image courtesy of Carbon 3D Inc.)Updated March 23, 2014Picture a polymer object literally rising out of a pool of liquid media in minutes rather than the hours it would take for a traditional 3-D printer to lay down material.That is exactly what researchers out of the University of North Carolina at...
  • Researchers Quest After an Amazingly Fast Semiconductor

    Is it possible that an 81-year-old dream of a Nobel laureate may finally become a reality?Qmed StaffAn international research team thinks it may have hit on a way to place crystalline lattices of pure electrons in the bottom of a silicon-encased quantum well, according to a report in Qmed’s sister UBM publication EE Times.The resulting crystal electron “gas” would have electron mobility more than 200 times greater than graphene and more than 1700 times greater than crystalline silicon,...
  • Turns Out That Medtronic Is Really Interested in Bears

    Medtronic officials think unlocking the secrets of hibernation could provide insights to better treat heart disease.Nancy CrottiThe black bear, or Ursus americanus (Photo courtesy of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources)Suspended animation might still be the stuff of sci-fi for humans, but for bears, it happens every year.In northwestern Minnesota, the University of Minnesota and Medtronic have spent the past seven years studying how black bears survive hibernation, in hopes of...
  • How to Win Friends and Influence Medical Device Burden

    Designing a device to meet the needs of all of the key stakeholders involved in the healthcare ecosystem always results in some trade-offs.Brian BuntzEvery activity in healthcare, from performing a surgery to self-administering an injection, requires a series of actions to be performed, says Craig Scherer, co-founder and senior partner of Insight Product Development (Chicago). “We refer to this sequence as a workflow. Devices that are used to enable treatment require some level of activity to...
  • FDA Hopes to Calm Superbug Fears with New Guidance

    Olympus' TJF-Q180V duodenoscope, as shown on the company's websiteFDA rolls out its guidance on reprocessing reusable medical devices, amid worries over superbugs.Chris NewmarkerIn the aftermath of the deadly superbug cases at UCLA’s Ronald Reagan Medical Center, FDA has issued a new guidance document for reprocessing reusable medical devices.The FDA’s move comes amid revelations that Olympus, whose duodenoscopes have been implicated in the spread of the drug-resistant bacterial...
  • How Medtech Startups Can Navigate Design Controls

    Medical device companies have long struggled with understanding design controls and making sure they are implemented correctly to ensure regulatory compliance.Jon Speer Jon Speer, the founder of greenlight.guru, will give a talk on May 7 at BIOMEDevice Boston titled "Avoiding a Document and Record Scavenger Hunt." Design controls have been a challenge to deal with for a long time, despite the fact that FDA design control regulations have been in place since 1996 and the current version of ISO...
  • Apple Aims to Transform Medical Research: Can It Really Do That?

    Apple CEO Tim Cook boasted that ResearchKit will “transform medical research in a way that’s truly profound.” But the jury is still out on this mobile device-based tool.Chris NewmarkerThe MyHeart Counts app, developed through ResearchKit, in action. (Art courtesy of Apple)Just days after Apple unveiled ResearchKit, an open source software framework designed for medical and health research, thousands of people have signed up through its initial apps to be research study subjects, according to...
  • Stent- and Catheter-Delivery Tubing: What Is Your Tolerance Level?

    To produce tubing for stent- and catheter balloon–delivery systems, manufacturers employ a range of dimensional, tolerance, and quality strategiesSteve MaxsonTubing dimensional variations can negatively impact such secondary operations as overmolding.Medical extrusion providers are increasingly expected to produce complex, close-tolerance tubing that meets the functional design requirements of minimally invasive stent- and catheter balloon–delivery systems. This task is rendered all the more...
  • How 3-D Printing Helped a Woman with a Brain Tumor

    Find out about a California couple who used a 3-D printed model to convince surgeons to perform an alternative to a risky brain surgery. Nancy CrottiAnterior skull section with skull based tumor (Courtesy of slo 3D creators—Michael Balzer)—on Sketchfab)Pamela Scott needed surgery to remove a benign tumor from her brain. Instead of relying on local surgeons to perform a traditional, hugely invasive, and risky procedure, Scott and her husband took matters into their own...
  • Why Paper-Based Quality Control Systems Are So Last Century

    Roughly half of medical device companies still use paper-based quality systems, despite the fact that they are about as efficient as a paper-based library card catalog.Brian BuntzIf you stepped into a public library today and saw that they still used a paper-based card catalog, you might think they are seriously behind the times. Now, electronic search has vastly improved the ease with which we find books—whether in a physical library or on the Internet.MasterControl (Salt Lake City, UT) is...
  • A Google Docs-Like Approach to Keeping Your Suppliers in Line

    MasterControl offers a software system to help OEMs virtually collaborate with their contract partners.Brian BuntzWhen Google Docs hit the scene back in 2007, my first reaction was to wonder about the purpose of a simple browser-based clone of Microsoft Word. Now, I use the platform almost daily— and even wrote this text using the platform. It makes sharing and editing documents remotely a snap, making it easy to have others edit or proofread your documents—all without sending a string of Word...
  • A Surprisingly Simple Solution for Glucose Monitoring

    Nanoengineers at the University of California, San Diego think diabetics might be able to draw the sensors on their skin using special high-tech bio-inks.Chris NewmarkerUC San Diego researchers have demonstrated that they can draw sensors directly on the skin. (Photo courtesy of UC San Diego)Will diabetics someday need to watch old Bob Ross clips so that they can draw their own glucose sensors?The notion sounds pretty silly, but it might not be as far-fetched as it seems, if research out...
  • What a 30-Year Industry Veteran Has Learned about Medtech

    Robert Roche over the past 30 years has witnessed firsthand the consolidation of the medtech industry and a host of advances ranging from new materials to component miniaturization.Qmed StaffBob Roche is the chief operating officer and director at Wytech.Recently hired as chief operating officer at fine wire and tubing maker Wytech Industries (Rahway, NJ), Robert Roche has held a range of medtech industry management positions since 1984—just a year before MPMN was started.The former chief...
  • How Hula Hoop-Sized Seals Make Imaging Systems More Reliable

    A custom engineering company expands its line of spring-energized seals to include large diameter options for medical imaging systems.Kristopher SturgisBal-Seal offers seals for slow-speed rotary and reciprocating medical applications including MRI/CT scanners and for the doors/enclosures to autoclaves and sterilization equipment. Bal Seal Engineering Inc. has decided to expand its line of spring-energized seals to include large diameter (make that huge diameter, judging by the above image),...
  • How to Fly a Plane with Only Your Thoughts

    University of Pittsburgh researchers combined a computer-brain interface with a flight simulator, with pretty amazing results.Nancy CrottiJan Scheuermann, who has quadriplegia, brings a chocolate bar to her mouth using a robot arm she is guiding with her thoughts. (Photo courtesy of University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine)For Jan Sheuermann, the sky’s the limit, according to a story on Wired.First approached by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the University of...