• Everything You Know about Materials Is Wrong

    A lack of innovative materials is holding the medtech industry back, says Michael Drues, PhD, the president of Vascular Sciences. And if Drues had his way, the medical device industry would start looking for bio-friendly materials.“Biocompatible isn’t good enough any more,” Drues says. “Biocompatibility just means you put something in the body and the patient doesn’t drop dead.”From Teflon to titanium, many of the biomaterials, used in the body are inert. The logic behind their use in...
  • When Laser Ablation of Parylene Makes Sense

    Laser ablation of parylene offers superior capability for designs where small features, precise alignment, and custom shapes are needed.  By David L. Wall, Resonetics LLCParylene is a conformal coating widely used in the medical device and microelectronics industries. It has many highly desirable characteristics: chemical resistance, biocompatibility, thermal stability, high dielectric strength, low friction, optical transparency, hydrophobicity, and low permeability to gases. It...
  • Sweat-Powered Electronics Show Promise for Health Monitoring

    Researchers at the University of California, San Diego have developed a sensor in the form of a temporary tattoo that can help monitor lactate during exercise while also drawing power from the chemical, which is naturally found in sweat.The device was designed by Joseph Wang, PhD and his colleagues in an effort to find more efficient ways to gather and evaluate fitness levels during intense workouts.The biobattery tattoo is the latest venture into flex circuits and microbattery technology, in...
  • This New Microhair Material Could Enable Lab-on-a-Chip Advances

    Engineers at MIT have developed a new elastic material lined with microscopic, hairlike structures that can bend and tilt in response to a magnetic field. In experiments, the engineers were able to manipulate the microhairs to tilt in a certain direction based on the orientation of the magnetic field, in an effort to form a path through which fluid and light can flow. The MIT-designed material is a flexible polymer "skin" coated with microhairs (white lines) that tilt in response to a...
  • Inside View of a Medical Device Micropump

    Micropumps are part of the panoply of medical device technologies that are enabling the trend toward miniaturization. A case in point is the mp6 diaphragm micropump from Bartels Mikrotechnik GmbH (Dortmund, Germany). Used in drug-delivery and infusion-pump applications, the pump transports tiny amounts of gases or liquids. Because of its flat form factor, the piezoelectric diaphragm micropump can be designed into wearable medical devices.In addition to its small form factor, however, the...
  • Shining a Light on Skin Cancer

    By Anastasia ThriftA new device could light the way to combating the most common form of cancer in the United States. The skin-cancer detection tool combines three light modalities into one device for better detection, thereby subjecting only the most likely skin abnormalities to biopsy—the next, more invasive and expensive stage, of diagnosis. MMS probe (Courtesy of AIP)The multi-modal spectroscopy (MMS) device was conceived by University of Texas at Austin researchers, whose results were...
  • How a Young Girl Developed an Innovative Chemotherapy Device

    Kylie Simonds, an 11-year-old girl from Connecticut, has developed a backpack-based system that enables patients to receive chemotherapy without an IV pole.Three years ago, Simonds learned first-hand of the hassles involved in being constantly tethered to a “huge and scary” IV pole after being diagnosed with a connective tissue cancer. She underwent 46 weeks of chemotherapy.  “I used to have to use the IV poles, and I always tripped over all the wires. It was hard to walk around, and I...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • 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...