• Bone-Inspired Silicon Shapes Could Boost Biocompatibility of Implants

    Tiny silicon spicules could one day improve the integration between implantable electronics and their recipient. Kristopher SturgisMinute bone-like silicon shapes could one day provide a bridge between soft tissue and hard materials, according to a University of Chicago (UC) news release.“Our skeleton-like silicon spicules show great potential in a wide range of applications where enhanced electronics-biology interface is desired,” according to Bozhi Tian, assistant professor in chemistry at...
  • The Greatest Medtech Innovation of 2015

    An ancient art form has potentially solved a major design hurdle for wearable devices. Our readers think it could have a profound effect on medtech. A series of surveys found them picking it as the best technology of the year so far.Chris NewmarkerBinghamton University engineer Seokheun Choi needed his paper-based biobatteries to be able to fit in more compact spaces. He found the answer in origami. (Image courtesy of Binghamton University)How can you make solid lithium-ion batteries stretch?...
  • Finding New Ways to Shape Graphene

    Researchers are developing new techniques to shape graphene, and are exploring new ways to make use of the versatile material.Kristopher SturgisRice University researchers have developed a new simple technique that can turn carbon nanotubes into valuable graphene nanoribbons by literally grinding the nanotubes down. (Image courtesy of Rice University)Researchers have been able to do some amazing things with graphene lately, as they continue to exploit its unique...
  • How a Jet Engine Sensor Became a Tiny Heart Failure Monitor

    The sensing technology at the heart of the CardioMEMS HF system was inspired by a MEMS sensor designed to monitor the pressure within jet engines.Brian BuntzThe current version of St. Jude Medical's CardioMEMS HF device is about the size of a paper clip.A decade ago, Jay Yadav, MD, former director of vascular intervention at the Cleveland Clinic, had the idea of taking pressure sensor technology designed for jet engines, and using it inside the pulmonary artery. Both were tubes, after all.“They...
  • Have a Great Idea for a Healthcare Product? Pitch It to Us

    BIOMEDevice San Jose will include a “Rapid-Fire Pitch Competition.” Here's how you can get in on the action.Qmed StaffThe organizers of BIOMEDevice San Jose are offering a chance for healthcare technology startups to gain publicity by participating in the inaugural “Rapid-Fire Pitch Competition.” Ten startups will each have the opportunity to present their one-minute elevator pitch to a panel of investors to gain invaluable feedback and a chance to secure investment....
  • How the First Disposable Surgical Ratchet Was Made

    In this Q&A, a developer of surgical instruments explains how a novel device for use in orthopedic procedures was conceived and developed.Brian BuntzReusable ratchets for surgical orthopedic procedures can cost more than $1000 per unit—not to mention the high costs of cleaning and maintaining them.With hospitals and clinics across the country looking for ways to cut costs, the surgical device firm ECA Medical Instruments (Thousand Oaks, CA) has debuted the first disposable surgical ratchet—...
  • New Ultra-Low Power Sensors Can Self Charge

    Researchers unveil a new ultra-low power circuit that can harvest more than 80% of the energy it takes in. They say it is nearly twice as efficient as any existing sensor technologies.Kristopher SturgisThe MIT researchers' prototype for the chip measures just 3 mm by 3 mm. Magnified detail shows the chip's main control circuitry, which measures just 2.2 mm by 1.1 mm. (Image courtesy of MIT)MIT researchers recently unveiled a new power converter chip that can harvest more than 80% of the energy...
  • This Advice Will Help You Improve Your Device History Records

    How easily can you trace every lot, batch, or unit of product? The answer is important. In fact, it will be a factor that defines your medical device company's ability to prosper.Julie Fraser, IYNO AdvisorsBetween the FDA's requirement for unique device identifier (UDI) and the regulatory scrutiny of device history records (DHRs), traceability is always a hot topic in the medical device industry. But the challenge is that no single department or system has the entire answer. Traceability...
  • This Robot Knows How to Catch Flies

    Robots are increasingly becoming faster, smarter, cheaper, and more dexterous—holding great promise for surgical robotics and medical device manufacturing in the process.Chris NewmarkerUpdated July 6, 2015The robot's suction tube is able to pick up a fruit fly unharmed. (Picture courtesy of Stanford University)Stanford University researchers have designed a robot able to perform an especially complex task: catching and releasing fruit flies. The Stanford robot's fly-catching abilities...
  • Why Digital Health Has Billions and Billions of Opportunities

    Remote patient monitoring of chronic conditions alone could save U.S. healthcare more than $200 billion, Goldman Sachs reports.Nancy CrottiDigital healthcare can revolutionize chronic disease management and save the country a bundle of money, according to a report released this week by Goldman Sachs.Chronic conditions account for $1.1 trillion per year, or one-third of total U.S. annual healthcare expenditures, the report says, according to a National Medical Expenditures Panel Survey data...
  • Is Buying Your Way in the Best Way to Expand into Medtech Plastics?

    Prism Plastics executives see acquiring a medical molding company as the easiest way to diversify into the medical device space.Qmed StaffIf you can't beat them, buy them.That seems to be the motto at Prism Plastics (Chesterfield, MI), an injection molded plastic automotive parts maker that has tried to break into the medtech space for years. Medical device companies have trouble believing automotive parts companies are serious about expanding into the space and staying their, ...
  • Despite Controversy, New Pelvic Mesh Wins FDA Approval

    A privately-owned medical device company will market what it hails as a next-generation of its vaginal mesh.Caldera Medical's Vertessa Lite mesh, as shown on the company's websiteBrian BuntzVaginal mesh have emerged as one of the most scandal-prone medical devices in recent memory, and have cost big device companies like Boston Scientific, Johnson & Johnson, and others millions of dollars in lawsuit fees. Boston Scientific, for instance, was recently compelled to pay $100 million in...
  • Could This Materials Innovation Improve Diabetes Treatment?

    Painless microneedles with “intelligent nanoparticles” could replace insulin injections for diabetics, according to researchers in North Carolina.Chris NewmarkerRather than inject the insulin-containing nanoparticles, the researchers instead packaged them into an array of tiny needles. (Image courtesy of University of North Carolina)It is no bigger than a penny. But a insulin-delivering patch produced by University of North Carolina and NC State researchers is actually covered with more...
  • The Top 2 Technologies of 2015

    You’ve already helped us pick two technologies that could greatly influence medtech in coming years. Now help us pick the most innovative technology to hit the scene in 2015.Chris NewmarkerAnd then there were two. In some ways, it makes sense that batteries and biolimbs would remain after two round of surveys asking Qmed readers to pick technologies most likely to affect medtech in coming years. Battery innovations are greatly needed to enable further medical device innovation, and lab-...
  • Philips' Latest Ultrasound Innovation Will Surprise You

    The Dutch multinational made a major design move that could make ultrasound far more mobile and available than it is presently.This marketing image from Philips shows the Lumify in action. (Image courtesy of Royal Philips)Chris NewmarkerRoyal Philips recently announced that it will start selling an ultrasound transducer that simply plugs into a smart tablet via its USB port, running off an app on the tablet.The first-generation Lumify ultrasound wand is already 510(k) cleared with FDA, and is...
  • J&J Hit with New Multimillion-Dollar Fraud Suit

    The lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles, seeks millions of dollars in damages from Johnson & Johnson, claiming that a company it acquired knowingly marketed an unproven, off-label use for its sinus balloon catheters.Brian Buntz and Chris NewmarkerThis image was pulled from a 2011 clinical study describing the The MicroFlow spacer as "A Drug-Eluting Stent for the Ethmoid Sinus." The image shows the device's reservoir and shaft in "A" and the reservoir's features in "B."Acclarent, a startup...
  • This Transparent, Bendable Conductor Could Improve Flex Electronics

    Using a “nano-accordion” design, researchers have developed a new stretchable, transparent conductor that could prove crucial in the wave of next-gen flexible electronics and wearable technologies.Kristopher SturgisNorth Carolina State University researchers created a series of symmetrical, zinc oxide ridges on an elastic substrate. These ridges of zinc oxide allow the structure to expand and contract like a nano-accordion, giving it its flexible, bendable traits. (Image courtesy of NCSU...
  • Your Pick for the Best Medtech CEO

    Omar Ishrak handily topped a poll for top medtech CEO.Qmed Staff In a Qmed reader survey, Medtronic CEO Omar Ishrak garned 57.02% of 228 total votes. Edwards Lifesciences’ Michael Mussallem took second place in the poll, with 16.67% of the vote, while J&J’s Alex Gorsky was ranked third, with 10.96% of the vote.Since Ishrak took over as Medtronic’s CEO in June 2011 and the present, the company’s stock has nearly doubled—from roughly $38 per share to the $75 range it is trading at now....
  • These New Robotic Tentacles Could Be Your Next Surgeon

    Iowa State University researchers have developed micro-tentacles able to provide tiny robots with grip and dexterity for objects at the millimeter scale. The advance opens the door for a world of possibilities, from manufacturing to the operating table.Jaeyoun Kim of Iowa State University holds a syringe with a micro-tentacle attached. (Photo courtesy of Iowa State University)Kristopher SturgisEngineers at Iowa State University (ISU) have developed a new technology aimed to provide robots...
  • Deciding Where in the World to Make What? It's Complicated

    Offshore, reshore, onshore, nearshore, or right-shore… It says something that so many different terms have popped up reflecting the complexity of modern globalized manufacturing operations. Brian BuntzGW says that companies that offer a standardized global manufacturing platform and quality system can take much of the risk out of offshoring. Shown here is the company's facility in Dongguan, China.A decade or two ago, many U.S. companies were tempted by seemingly simple arithmetic to move...