• Making Medical Devices Antimicrobial with Coatings

    As many as one in 20 U.S. patients acquire infections during hospital stays, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But antimicrobial material coatings are enabling new infection-fighting strategies when it comes to medical devices.To help hospitals fight off infection, device makers have turned to metals with antimicrobial properties such as silver and copper. Medtronic highlighted another antimicrobial strategy recently, in its acquisition of the...
  • Compact, Inexpensive Auditory Device Helps Blind Navigate

    While it is not the first, a new and more economical “sonar for the blind” device is said to be smaller and lighter than previous iterations of the concept. The new system was described by Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (UC3M; Spain) doctoral candidate Pablo Revuelta Sanz in his thesis. He was guided by his professors at UC3M, Belén Ruíz Mezcua and José Manuel Sánchez Pena. A Spanish-language YouTube video describes his system.Pablo Revuelta Sanz demonstrates his new sonification device. (...
  • How Lasers Are Changing MedTech

    Advances in laser machining could aid polymer-based bioabsorbable stents in beating out metal stents in the medical device field. It might also allow for plenty of affordable, detailed polymer parts for point-of-care testing and devices.A bioabsorbable stent from Resonetics.  That’s the message from Glenn Ogura, executive vice president at laser machining contract manufacturer Resonetics, who is scheduled to speak about his field next month at MD&M West in Anaheim, CA. The...
  • Printed Eye Cells Thrive

    Closeup of retinal cells in a jet. (Courtesy of Lorber et al)In research published as far back as 2005, scientists have been experimenting with using inkjet printer technology to deposit living cells for such applications as skin grafts. Now two types of retinal cells from adult rats have been successfully printed and grown in culture. In “Adult Rat Retinal Ganglion Cells and Glia Can Be Printed by Piezoelectric Inkjet Printing,” Barbara Lorber, University of Cambridge, UK, et al., say that “...
  • Active MRI Protocol Illumines Movement in Joints

    Amazingly detailed images produced by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) have greatly aided physicians, particularly in orthopedics, in their examinations of patients and diagnoses of their ailments. But due to the time it takes to conduct these scans, they have to date been limited to still images.The forearm of a healthy volunteer in the wrist harness is about to be visualized using 'active MRI.'Since some joint problems are most apparent during movement of the joint, a University of California...
  • How 3-D Printing Is Impacting Medical Device Design and Development

    3-D printing technologies are all the rage. In the years to come, designers and manufacturers will be able to use 3-D printers to create a host of medical devices, tissues, and even organs. But here and now, 3-D printing is already being employed in low-volume applications and as a method for streamlining the manufacturing process, as Bruce Bradshaw, director of marketing at Stratasys (Minneapolis), explains in the following Q&A. On Tuesday, February 11, Bradshaw will highlight “The Next...
  • Scientists Unveil World's Fastest Organic Transistors

    Two university research teams, one from Stanford University and the other from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL), have reportedly developed the world's fastest thin-film organic transistors. This experimental technology has the potential to achieve the performance needed for transparent high-resolution displays, television screens, sensor arrays, and related electronic devices.In “Ultra-High Mobility Transparent Organic Thin Film Transistors Grown by an Off-Centre Spin-Coating Method,”...
  • Drug-Delivery Systems Take Their Turn in the Spotlight

    Vintage syringe image from etsy.com.Many companies and researchers are working on novel ways to improve the delivery of drugs to their targets. Also contributing to this trend is the significant number of blockbuster drugs going off patent and the exploding cost of developing new drugs, both of which are spurring big pharma to look to novel delivery methods to distinguish their products from competitors.A recent summary of advances in the field can be found in a report from NIH's National...
  • Future Retinal Implants to Offer Clearer Vision

    While the current state of the art in retinal implants is better than total blindness, it is still a long way from anything approaching normal vision. But two researchers have teamed up to improve this situation. Wolfgang Fink, associate professor, University of Arizona (Tucson)  departments of electrical and computer engineering and biomedical engineering, and Erich Schmid, professor emeritus of theoretical atomic and nuclear physics at the University of Tübingen, Germany, are researching...
  • New Glue May Soon Replace Sutures – Even in a Beating Heart

    A new surgical adhesive is strong and flexible enough, and biocompatible enough, to be used to help patch heart defects, doing away with the need for sutures or stables. Developed by researchers at the Boston Children's Hospital and Brigham and Women's Hospital, the adhesive has already been tested in mice and pigs. It is being commercialized by Paris-based startup Gecko Biomedical, which counts some of the same researchers as its founders. The company says it has $11 million in funding, which...
  • Hacking Wearables for Medical Device Applications

    The technology headlines tout all of these new wearable end products such as Fitbit or Google Glass. But perhaps they are not the be all and end all. Perhaps it is how the technology is specifically modified for use in healthcare and other workplace settings that matters.That seems to be the big takeaway from a report that Forrester tech analyst J.P. Gownder, released from the Consumer Electronics Show 2014 and touted in Wired. Reflecting on all the wearables tech at the show, Gownder says...
  • Virtual 3-D Heart Beats Using Actual Electrical Data

      Though it hasn't exactly set the 3-D modeling and simulation world aflutter, a significant milestone was achieved recently by Dassault Systemes' Simulia division when they successfully integrated a highly detailed 3-D model of a human heart with electrical impulse data to create a virtual beating heart. As recently reported by Forbes magazine's Joann Muller, by modeling a beating heart in 3-D, the hope is that one day doctors will be able to diagnose and treat patients based on the...
  • How Squid Might Help Reduce Injections

    Sometimes Mother Nature has a material solution that is superior to what a chemist might cook up. And that appears to be the case for Carnegie Mellon University's Chris Bettinger and Jay Whitacre, who found that cuttlefish ink provides just the right chemistry and nanostructure to power tiny, ingested electronic devices.Bettinger, an assistant professor of materials science and biomedical engineering, and Whitacre, an associate professor of materials science and engineering, have been pioneers...
  • Innovega Putting a Lens onto Device Innovation

    Google Glass has received plenty of attention as a device that could enable all kinds of innovations in healthcare settings. But is there something out there that is the next best thing?Enter Bellevue, WA-based Innovega and its iOptik platform, which Innovega staff members are showing off this week at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.The company says in a news release that prototypes will feature up to six times the number of pixels and 46 times the screen size of other...
  • California Still Top U.S. State for Medtech

    As high as California places in rankings of just about everything, Silicon Valley venture capitalist Tim Draper's Six Californias Initiative, which seeks to break up California into six smaller states, may seem like a good idea. “The status quo is just not going to work,” Draper said in a press conference last week.  But unless this happens, the Golden State is one big entity, with one big medical device industry. California has “a lot of great ideas, huge amount of...
  • Novel Computers that Learn From Mistakes to Debut in 2014

    Computers with a brain-inspired ‘neuromorphic processor'—systems able to learn from their experiences—could transform the face of computing, potentially doing everything from advancing facial and speech recognition technology to rendering computer crashes obsolete. The breakthrough could also greatly simplify the task of programming.A network using neurosynaptic cores is based on the monkey brain. Image courtesy of IBM.Qualcomm, IBM, and Stanford University are among those pioneering the...
  • Colorado Is Nation's Sixth-Biggest Medtech State

    The Colorado medical device industry is as diverse as the state's terrain. Centered, not surprisingly, along the metro corridor of Fort Collins, Denver, Boulder, and Colorado Springs, these companies range from a Sandoz unit of giant Novartis in Broomfield to Denver's Eldon James, whose BioMed cleanroom facility focuses on the manufacture of products designed for the life sciences, biomedical, pharmaceutical and similar applications.Another global giant, Covidien PLC, employs about 1850 people...
  • Getting Aging Down Right

    Sticking a plastic medical device part or some plastic packaging in an oven to figure out how it will age years from now—it sounds like a good idea.But there are plenty of ways to botch up the testing, says Karl Hemmerich, president of Ageless Processing Technologies in Sandy, UT.“One of the shortcomings is using a temperature that’s too high,” Hemmerich says.Hemmerich recalls a resin company that had a propylene part that was supposed to age well, but it actually had problems down the road...
  • Utah's Medtech Industry Surging

    That Utah has a thriving medical device industry is no longer a surprise. But even with names like Edwards Lifesciences, Merit Medical Systems, and Nelson Laboratories on rosters of the state's employers, it may be a surprise to learn that, on a per-capita basis, Utah is actually first in the nation in medical device manufacturing, according to 2012 numbers published in Economic Review by the Economic Development Corporation of Utah (EDCUtah).Researcher Brigham Mellor of EDCUtah says, “This...
  • Looking to Your Knit Lines with Molding

    A medical device designer might look up a polymer’s physical properties and game out how a part made of the polymer will withstand stress. But start molding the part, and it might not hold up anyway.Molding adds an entirely new dimension to what needs to be testing out. There’s temperature, mold pour rate, mold geometry, and where the injection takes place, says Eric Hill, president of Midland, MI–based Impact Analytical.Hill finds it a common problem: Molding isn’t properly taken into account...