• Why Household Robots Might Matter for Medtech

    Lawson Wong and his mentors at MIT haven’t made plans to apply their robotics research advances to medical technology, but Wong can see where it might work. Image courtesy of Christine Daniloff and Jose-Luis Olivares/MITThe researchers at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory are working on making household robots better able to identify and manipulate objects in the home—the sort of thing that can help people with visual impairments.The team used an off-the-shelf...
  • The Quantum Computing Advances You Need to Know

    From topological quantum computing, to designing optical chips that enable photons to perform quantum computations, researchers continue to take significant steps toward designing a machine that is fully powered by quantum physics.The applications of quantum computing machines are thought to be vast and largely unexplored, but the impact on the medtech industry could be profound.Most researchers understand that a machine powered by quantum physics will be able to solve problems, execute...
  • Silicon Structures That Form Like in Children's Pop-Up Books

    Resembling razor wire, these 3-D microstructures of silicon can 'pop up' from flat geometries, like children's books.John Rogers was evidently not content with making electronics bendable, enabling them to potentially be used for actively conformable to the human body. The University of Illinois, who went on to found flexible electronics firm MC10 (Cambridge, MA) has a new trick up his sleeve: converting tiny 2-D silicon structures into 3-D.The mechanism used to do that bears a resemblance to...
  • Comparing California to Other Medtech Hubs

    California may have a high cost-of-doing business—including high taxes—but such costs also help pay for a great quality of life and educated workforce. And don't even start on the access to venture capital.When we asked our audience if the high costs of doing business was worth it for medical device firms. The answer? A resounding 'maybe,' as the bar graph below shows: How the Top Medtech States Stack Up California COSTS11.4%State-Local Tax Burden as % State Income8.84%State...
  • How Squeezing Cells Could Lead to New Cancer Treatments

    Photo of a cell approaching constriction in a microfluidic channel, where it becomes permeable.A new microfluidic device developed by SQZ Biotech can deliver microscopic material into cells quickly and effectively by vigorously squeezing the cells, which temporarily make the membranes permeable, according to a story from MIT Technology Review. The device could pave the way for cancer treatment breakthroughs, as it could deliver drugs into cells that normally reject foreign materials.Despite the...
  • How a Chip That Thinks Like a Primate Can Help People See Better

    A computer network can accurately mimic primates’ visual skills such as recognizing objects, according to researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).Until now, no computer model has been able to match the primate brain at visual object recognition during a brief glance, according to a news release from the university. Recently, however, scientists have come to a much better understanding of how object recognition works within the brain, says James DiCarlo, a professor of...
  • Challenges Facing Medical Packaging in 2015

    Maintaining high standards amid cost pressures and the need for sterile barrier system makers to become involved early in the development process are among the emerging challenges facing the medical packaging industry in coming years, David Harding, director general of the United Kingdom–based Sterile Barrier Association, writes in European Medical Device Technology."A common and understandable approach is to seek lower-cost alternative products. In the case of sterile barriers, however, it is...
  • A Remarkably Thin Material for Medical Imaging

    A material that is hailed as the “thinnest-ever imaging platform” by Rice University (Houston, TX) could be integrated with electronics to create tiny imaging devices to monitor medical conditions in real-time.The platform is based on an atomically thin layer of copper indium selenide (CIS) that is extremely sensitive to light—the new material is thought to be 10 times more efficient than the best alternative material currently available. The material also has the benefit of having a broad...
  • What You Need to Know About the DuPont Tyvek Transition

    In 2011, DuPont announced its intention to transition Tyvek 1073B and 1059B medical-grade materials to the company's latest flash-spinning technology with the stated objective of ensuring greater continuity and flexibility of future supply."Although this is being managed and dealt with very comprehensively by DuPont, there will still be an element of validation work necessary at each packaging manufacturer and medical device manufacturer," according to Tony Paolino, president of SteriPack USA,...
  • 3-D Printed Electronics: It's Now Real

    Princeton University researchers have succeeded in embedding LEDs on a plastic contact lens, opening the door to the use of 3-D printing to produce a range of electronic components, including semiconductors.Although the lure of using 3-D printing technology to create electronic components is great, the challenges are perhaps greater. Nevertheless, when asking the question earlier this year what’s next for 3-D printing, our answer was: printable electronics.Now, researchers at Princeton...
  • Detecting DNA on Your Smartphone

    Not content with developing a lens-free microscope that can detect cancer, researchers at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) are working to convert an ordinary smartphone into a fluorescent microscope so powerful it can measure the size of DNA molecules.Fluorescent microscopes work by labeling samples with fluorescent molecules that are activated with a laser. This process gives off different colored light that the microscope can detect and use to build an image of fluorescent-...
  • Need Info on Surgical Medical Device Materials? Try This.

    A page from the ASM International/Granta Design database on surgical medical device materials shows stress/strain graphs of titanium alloys.ASM International and Granta Design have developed a surgical module in the ASM Medical Materials Database. Focusing on materials used in surgical devices, the module combines engineering material properties and biomedical response data with surgical application information.The data include descriptions of surgical devices and the materials from which they...
  • A Lens-free Microscope That Could Detect Cancer

    These days, most cell-level abnormalities such as a cancer and other malignant tumors often require costly high powered optical microscopes to diagnose. That may change, however, as researchers from UCLA are developing a lens-free microscope that can be used to detect these malignant abnormalities with the same accuracy as their larger, more expensive counterparts.The lens-free microscope is one of the latest developments in a series of computational imaging and diagnostic devices developed at...
  • Mind-Controlled Arm Boasts Fine Precision

    This robotic arm used at the University of Pittsburgh offers ten dimensional control of hand movements. Jan Scheuermann, a patient with longstanding quadriplegia, has managed to control a robotic arm with a range of complex human hand movements using a brain–machine interface, according to a story from the Institute of Physics. The maneuverability of the mind-controlled robotic arm has recently increased from seven dimensions to ten (which includes 3-D translation, 3-D orientation, and 4-D hand...
  • Ebola-Detection Chip Could Help Save Lives

    A microchip-based analyzer detects the presence of Ebola in a few microliters of blood, enabling rapid detection of the virusCapable of detecting the Ebola virus in blood samples, an RT-PCR-based portable analyzer is equipped with a microchip from STMicroelectronics.Tragically, thousands of people have died from Ebola in the desperately poor countries of Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea. While far from a cure, a portable analyzer from STMicroelectronics (Geneva) and Clonit, together with with...
  • Could This Ultrasound Chip Disrupt Medical Imaging?

    Imagine a world where imaging a person’s chest could be as simple as grabbing your smartphone and capturing a vivid 3-D image of what’s inside. This is the vision of entrepreneur Jonathan Rothberg, who has raised $100 million to create an innovative medical imaging device that could be “as cheap as a stethoscope.”Rothberg says he raised the money in an effort to provide a cheap alternative medical imaging device, while also making doctors “100 times as effective,” he said in a story from MIT...
  • Wireless Implants Knock Out Infection Before Dissolving

    Silk – it’s not just for stitches anymore, and remote controls aren’t just for TVs, either.A team of researchers from Tufts University and the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana put them together to develop a resorbable electronic implant that eliminated a staphylococcus aureus infection in mice by delivering heat to infected tissue when triggered by a remote wireless signal.The technique had previously been demonstrated only in vitro, but the silk and magnesium devices harmlessly...
  • Building a Cell on Silicon

    Cells are complex structures, making them difficult to replicate in the lab. But a team of Israeli scientists have taken a step in that direction by engineering a silicon chip that can produce proteins from DNA, the most basic function of life.The system, which was designed to be relatively simple, suggests a path to mimicking life with partly manufactured components, according to an article from MIT Technology Review. Roy Bar-Ziv, a materials scientist at the Weizmann Institute of Science in...
  • How to Get the Most Out of Microextrusion

     Minute processing adjustments for medical tubing can be extremely challenging. Image: American KuhneAlthough the fundamental extrusion process remains unchanged, microextrusion requires increased precision and accuracy compared with the "traditional" extrusion process, according to Bill Kramer, president of Ashaway, RI–based American Kuhne, which provides extruders and extrusion systems. "Medical processors should beware of equipment that is only scaled down from a larger machine versus...
  • A Tiny Spectrometer that Costs 10 Bucks

    Oakland, CA–based startup NanoLambda has devised a $10 spectrometer-on-a-chip that it says can be used for an array of medical applications. Described in sister publication EE Times, the device could be used to analyze the tongue and internal organs."Fusion or multi-mode sensing abilities will definitely bring the solution to next-generation healthcare," said NanoLambda CEO Bill Choi to EE Times.It could also be used for a range of consumer-facing applications. For instance, it could be used to...