• 3-D Printing Allows College Student to Save Infants in Kenya

    A 20-year-old electrical engineering student at the University of Nairobi in Kenya has used a Makerbot 3-D printer to create a tiny vein finder for use in infants.Alois Mbutura created the prototype while in his first year at the university, and believes it could go a long way in helping to deliver the numerous infant vaccinations needed in underdeveloped countries such as Kenya, according to an article on 3dprint.com. Recently, both the School of Health and the School of Engineering at the...
  • 'Death Star' Lego Particles: The Latest Ammo in Battle against Cancer

    To date the three pillars in the fight against cancer have been surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. All three of those, however, have their drawbacks, which has led some researchers to ask: What if we could equip our bodies with the necessary tools to detect and eliminate cancerous cells long before they multiply and cause problems?Earlier, we announced that a team of researchers from MIT had developed a lego-block like nanoparticle that can deploy multiple cancer drugs at once. One unique...
  • These Earbuds Monitor Your Heart

    In an age where selfies and status updates have become part of the daily routine, fitness tracking is quickly rising to the fore. As smartwatches and fitness bands continue to thrive, a new technology may soon be pulsating the ears of fitness buffs everywhere.These LG earbuds shown on the right employ Valencell’s technology to measure heart rate and various other biometric signals. With the introduction of smartphones and countless fitness apps, many companies began investing heavily in...
  • Busting Cancer with Iron Oxide Nanoparticles

    Iron oxide—already used as an MRI contrast agent—may help physicians treat cancer, according to research by an international team of scientists led by scientists at Rice University and the Methodist Hospital Research Institute in Houston.A report in the journal Advanced Functional Materials says the researchers embedded iron oxide in silicon mesoporous particles (SiMPS) and discoidal polymeric nanoconstructs (DPNs), allowing them to magnetically track, move, and hold the particles in place. The...
  • How a Wearable Could Improve Diabetics' Lives

    Researchers in Taiwan have developed a wearable optical pupil-reading device prototype that may open the door to early detection of a common neurological condition found in those with diabetes, known as diabetic autonomic neuropathy.The condition can be a serious complication for those suffering from both Type 1– and Type 2– diabetes that progressively affects the autonomic nerves controlling vital organs like the heart and gastrointestinal system. This condition often results in fainting,...
  • Novel Bioadhesive Inspired by Barnacles

    Researchers at Clemson University (Clemson, SC) are working to develop a natural adhesive inspired by barnacles and their ability to cling to objects submerged in the water. The adhesive could be potentially used for medical applications as well as other industrial uses.The scientists had previously discovered that the adhesive used by barnacles in their last larval stage was complex and composed of lipids, proteins, and peptides. At this stage, the barnacle is roughly shaped like a shrimp....
  • Why Have Five Fingers When You Can Have Seven?

    Robotics not only has the potential to restore lost limbs to people—but also enhance the limbs we already have.That is one of the intriguing takeaways from a recent innovation out of Massachusetts Institute of Technology. It’s a robot worn around the wrist that works as though it was two extra fingers adjacent to the pinky and thumb. MIT engineering professor Harry Asada suspects the two-fingered robot might assist people with limited dexterity in performing routine household tasks, such...
  • How Medical Device Tubing Is Processed

    Check out the following video highlighting a high-speed medical device tubing line. Shot by extrusion-equipment provider Milacron LLC (Cincinnati), the video shows a PAK350 medical extruder running at 500 ft/min. Among the company's offerings are extruders and extrusion lines for manufacturing a range of tubing, including small catheters, single-lumen tubes, draw-down tubing for vascular applications, multilumen tubing, and dialysis and drug-delivery tubing. Bob Michaels is senior...
  • A Robotic Electrode System That Interfaces with the Brain

    Have you heard someone say their brain is like cheese? Actually, it’s more like Jell-O, and hyper-vigilant Jell-O at that.The brain moves continuously in response to bodily movements and breathing patterns, making it exceedingly difficult to track electrical signals that pass from one cell to another. In addition, brain cells attack intruders—even the thinnest of probes – and barricade them from the electrical signals that researchers are trying to understand.Sandia scientist Murat Okandan...
  • Why Medtech Needs to Learn about iOS and Android

    As a software developer with experience in the healthcare realm, Colin Anawaty, ‎CPO and cofounder of Filament Labs (Austin, TX) has some words of wisdom for medical device developers considering delving into the mobile software world: “Given the fact that there is this whole trend towards wearables, it could be helpful to learn about these mobile platforms,” says Anawaty.“Whether you are using iOS and embracing Swift, which is supposed to be a much more friendly language for learning how to...
  • The Material That Is Lighting Up MRI Scans

    A startup founded by a Texas doctor has found a way to better ensure that implanted radioactive beads are killing prostate tumors and not healthy tissue needed for urination and sex life—and it all has to do with rice-sized PEEK plastic capsules containing water-based, cobalt salt solution droplets that light up under an MRI. Each Sirius MRI Marker is 5.5 mm long and 0.8 mm in diameter. Image courtesy of C4 Imaging.The capsules are placed on each side of a bead, helping to secure it inside...
  • How Nanotech Could Sharpen MRI Scans

    British researchers have designed a self-assembling nanoparticle that they say can help doctors diagnose cancer earlier. Image courtesy of Imperial College LondonThe nanoparticle, developed by researchers at Imperial College London, is coated with a special protein that looks for specific signals given off by tumors, according to a press release from the college. When it finds a cancerous tumor, the nanoparticle sheds the protein coating, allowing it to self-assemble into a much...
  • 3-D Imaging Method Unmasks Secrets of the Beating Heart

    Oh, my beating heart! One day, its image may be captured in 3-D by a high-speed microscope designed by German researchers. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics in Dresden combined Selective Plane Illumination Microscopy (SPIM) and inventive image processing to reconstruct multi-view movies of the beating heart of a zebrafish.Each movie covered an individual plane of the heart. They then used the correlations between the individual planes to generate...
  • Google Glass as a Neural Interface

    Google Glass may be just the interface that paralyzed people need to neuro-control medical devices—if research out of Kennesaw State University’s BrainLab is any indication.A researcher at Kennesaw State University's BrainLab tries out the Google Glass neuro-control interface. Photo courtesy of BrainLab.Glass users normally use touch, wink or voice commands to control the view screen projected on the glasses-like wearable device. But the researchers at the Georgia university, led by...
  • How a Packaging Design Firm Is Reinventing Catheter and Guidewire Dispensing

    The word innovation is often associated with complex new devices that will disrupt current practice. But strategic tweaks or additions to existing products can sometimes have just as significant an impact.The DISK system—which stands for dispenser integrated system kit—is one such example. The bronze winner in the Medical Product Packaging, Graphic Instructions, and Labeling Systems category of the 2014 Medical Design Excellence Awards combines two products—a clipless dispenser for catheters...
  • Creating Fly-Inspired Hearing Aid Technology

    Muhammad Ali famously described his boxing style as, “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.” The fly Ormia ochracea. Photo courtesy of Jpaur. Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution.Well, how about, “Hear like a fly?”Researchers Michael A. Kuntzman and Neal A. Hall of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin write in Applied Physics Letters that they have built a hearing mechanism prototype that mimics the...
  • How Heat-Seeking Missile Technology Can Detect Malaria

    It turns out that technology used in heat-seeking missiles can be leveraged to quickly detect blood borne pathogens such as malaria parasites. Australian researchers took a focal plane array (FPA), used in missiles to detect tanks, and connected it to an infrared imaging microscope and a synchrotron light source. Within a matter of minutes, the FPA can detect the presence of malaria in a single red blood cell.The FPA detectors used in the research were initially developed in the 1990s for use...
  • How Nanotubes Could Improve Cancer Diagnostics

    University of Houston researchers are using nanoscience to extract molecules from live cells without killing or damaging the cells. Their method could lead to new possibilities for diagnosing cancer and other diseases.The scientists used magnetized carbon nanotubes to retrieve molecular information safely from the cells. Nanoengineering allowed them to keep the cells alive and to assess changes in the cells over time, Zhifeng Ren, a physics professor and principal investigator at the university...
  • How to Turn Surgical Robots into Shapeshifters

    A group of U.S. and German researchers think they’ve come upon a materials innovation that could enable deformable surgical robots—and perhaps other types of exotic medical devices.Anette Hosoi, a professor of mechanical engineering and applied mathematics at MIT, and her former graduate student Nadia Cheng, worked alongside researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization and Stony Brook University to experiment with phase-changing material built from wax and foam,...
  • How Google and Novartis Might Revolutionize Contact Lenses

    Google’s founders may have recently downplayed the high tech giant’s healthcare plans. But a new partnership with Novartis, announced Tuesday, shows that Google is pretty serious when it comes to one medical device technology: contact lenses.When the news came out in January that Google planned to develop a contact lens that could help diabetics keep track of their blood glucose levels, company officials said they were looking for partners with expertise in bringing such products to market.That...