• Is Stryker Facing More Hip Implant Trouble?

    The Australian government has issued a warning about cobalt-chromium femoral heads manufactured before 2011. Is a U.S. recall announcement next?Nancy CrottiThe Australian government has issued a hazard alert about possible adverse events associated with a Stryker hip replacement part.Some U.S. law firms have written posts online regarding the Australian warning about Stryker Orthopaedics’ LFIT Anatomic CoCr V40 femoral heads, which is used in a metal-on-polyethylene hip implant system. A lawyer...
  • Organovo Wants to Get Bioprinted Liver Tissue Into People

    The bioprinting company says it plans a formal preclinical development program for 3-D bioprinted human liver tissue that could be transplanted into patients.Chris NewmarkerOrganovo officials within three to five years would like to submit an investigational new drug application to FDA for therapeutic bioprinted liver tissue, the San Diego–based company announced this week. The move comes two and a half years after Organovo started delivering 3-D bioprinted liver tissue for use in...
  • New Ultrasound Technique Could Wake Coma Patients

    The ultrasound treatment brought a 25-year-old brain injury patient back to full consciousness. Kristopher SturgisA new study out of UCLA has shown promise with ultrasound techniques that use sonic stimulation to excite the neurons in the brain’s central core for processing information, known as the thalamus. The procedure, known as low-intensity focused ultrasound pulsation, has potential as a therapy to help coma patients awake from comas and recover from serious brain trauma.The...
  • Theranos Laying Off Hundreds of Workers

    The embattled company is engaging in a major pivot, shutting down its clinical labs to focus on its desktop miniLab platform. Chris NewmarkerTheranos will shutter its clinical labs and Theranos Wellness Centers—a move that will affect about 340 workers in Arizona, California, and Pennsylvania, CEO Elizabeth Holmes announced in an open letter posted on the company's website this week. The move is a major shift for Theranos as well as Holmes, who once touted a vision of reliable, fast...
  • Automated Robot Can Beat Surgeon at Stitching

        Researchers at Children’s National Health System in Washington, DC, have taught a robot how to perform delicate suturing better than a human surgeon. MIT Technology Review reports that the Smart Tissue Autonomous Robot stitched a live pig’s intestine together with a needle and thread, using an advanced 3-D imaging system and “very precise force sensing to apply stitches with submillimeter precision.” The automated system outperformed its inventors at Children’s...
  • A 3-D Printed Robot Made Entirely of Soft Materials

        Wrap your measly human arms (and brain) around this one: Researchersat Harvard University’s Wyss Institute designed an octopus-inspired, soft, autonomous robot powered by chemical reactions controlled by microfluidics. A reaction inside the robot can transform a small amount of hydrogen peroxide into a large amount of gas, which then flows into the octobot’s arms to inflate them.  3-D printing was a crucial component of the design process, as it allowed the researchers...
  • Bringing Fish Morphology, Animal Cells to Heart Project

        What do you get when you cross a robotic stingray with rat cells? A Harvard University researcher got what he hopes will help him build a human heart.Professor Kevin “Kit” Parker  and his team drew on fish morphology, neuromuscular dynamics, and gait control to develop a living, biohybrid, stingray-shaped robot. They reverse-engineered stingray musculoskeletal structure using four-layered architecture, and cast the 3-D elastomer body in a titanium mold. To make the...
  • And Now for Something Completely Different: The Slugbot

        In one of the latest examples of designers combining mechanical parts with organic tissue,  Case Western Reserve University researchers created a 3-D printed robot that’s less than 2 in. long,  printed out of flexible polymers and powered by mouth muscle tissue from a sea slug. They went with sea slug muscle tissue because mechanical actuators were not as safe and tended to be rigid in such a tiny robot. An external electric field controls the robot, though its...
  • Chatty Robots Could Help OB Nurses Juggle Tricky Tasks

        MIT researchers trained an altered Nao robotto learn the ins and outs of room scheduling in a labor ward at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston.Nurses accepted the robot’s good recommendations 90% of the time and rejected consciously bad advice, enabling the robot to distinguish between good and bad recommendations and learn accordingly. That's no small feat when one considers how labor ward nurses are trying to predict when a woman will arrive in labor,...
  • Robots Making Robot Babies?

        Dutch researchers say it might be possible someday to "breed" robots, allowing the robots themselves to select out what traits are most "attractive" in environments with unanticipated challenges.A research team at VU Amsterdam created a "Birth Clinic" with a 3-D printer, a "Nursery," and an "Arena" where the toy-like robots live, work, and reproduce. The robots have a motivation to go toward a red light and "mate"—or upload a combination of their physical traits to the...
  • Robots and Medtech: More to Come

        Earlier this year, Verb Surgical (backed by Google-parent Alphabet) announced it is partnering with Johnson & Johnson to make robot surgeons smarter. More recently, CEO Scott Huennekens told Qmed's sister publication MD+DI that the company is moving closer to democratizing robotic surgery.Engineers and developers from Verb Surgical, J&J, and Verily (formerly Google Life Sciences) working on the digital surgery platform are focused on five elements: advanced...
  • 9 Ways Robots Are Getting So Much Better

        New robots are suturing, swimming, and slithering their way toward medtech device innovation. And they can help nurses schedule rooms and hand instruments to surgeons, too.Nancy CrottiFor several years, surgical robots in the medical device space were limited to giant arms that surgeons could control remotely. Intuitive Surgical’s da Vinci robot has been used for gynecological procedures since 2005, and surgery using the robot remains the most common approach used for...
  • A 'Second Skin' Exoskeleton

        Reports on robotic exoskeletons that enable people with restricted mobility to move more freely often feature photos of humans encased in heavy, Borg-like equipments. Swiss researchers aiming to make robotic exoskeletons less bulky and more practical developed a soft pneumatic actuator (SPA) skin embedded with piezoelectric sensors. A report by Robohub describes this “second skin” as pliable, lightweight, and able to provide tactile feedback to the...
  • This Surgical Robot Slithers Like a Snake

        IEEE Spectrum reports on a snake-like robotic scope that slides down patients’ throats and might someday slither into other orifices for colorectal or gynecologic surgery. FDA approved the Flex Robotic System by Medrobotics of Raynham, MA, last year. Medgadget describes Flex’s construction as “a series of interconnected mechanical components that are concentric to each other, but can be made to move in order to create overall flexion.” Flex...
  • Operating Rooms Could Get a Robotic Helping Hand

        Robots can assist surgeons in other, noninvasive ways. An international team input photos of human reaching motions into the neural network of a robotic arm, training it to mimic natural human motion in handing instruments to surgeons, according to another report by Robohub. Such a robot would not replace humans in the OR, but could give them a break during long procedures with consistent, precise movements.Continue >>[Image courtesy of Elena De Momi,...
  • The 10 Best-Performing Medtech Companies of Fall 2016

    Among the world's largest medical device companies, these 10 had the best stock performance during the first nine months of 2016.Chris NewmarkerMedical device companies are increasingly enjoying a good year when it comes to their stock prices. Back at the end of March, about three-fifths of world's largest medtech companies had stocks that were down for the year. Now, three-fifths of them are up for the year. (Download Qmed's full spreadsheet of the 88 stocks + Check Out the 10 Worst-...
  • This Is How Bioprinting Accuracy Could Be Improved

    European researchers are touting the first melt electrospinning printer that incorporates the use of bio-inks. Chris Newmarker The Swiss biomedical company regenHU says it has accomplished a bioprinting first: an electrospinning device able to handle bio-inks, enabling more accurate bioprinting in the process.The new machine is being housed at the at the Utrecht Biofabrication Facility, a high-tech facility in the Netherlands created by Utrecht University and the UMC Utrecht in 2013. The...
  • The 10 Worst-Performing Medtech Companies of Fall 2016

    Among the world's largest medical device companies, these 10 had the worst stock performance during the first nine months of 2016.Chris NewmarkerAn increasing number of major medical device companies are actually seeing their stock prices increase this year. But count the following 10 companies as exceptions to the rule. Many of these companies appear to be struggling with change, whether it involves new product launches or grappling with a classic film products business or transforming...
  • How to Freeze Trauma Patients to Save Their Lives

    University of Pittsburgh Medical Center researchers are testing induced hypothermia as a way to save trauma patients' lives. The new method could give doctors more time to stop bleeding and minimize brain damage, but better devices and techniques are needed.Kristopher SturgisThe U.S. Department of Defense five years ago began funding a new study called the Emergency Preservation and Resuscitation for Cardiac Arrest from Trauma study, or simply the EPR-CAT study. The study would focus on the use...
  • BD, Boston Sci Win Major U.S. Military Contracts

    The last week of September saw nearly $200 million in U.S. Defense Department contract awards for the medical device industry.Maureen KingsleyLast week was a good one for medical device companies seeking U.S. government contracts.Two medtech giants—Becton Dickinson (BD; via its CareFusion subsidiary) and Boston Scientific—won notably large Defense Department bids collectively totaling $171 million. A third, smaller award of $13.5 million was granted to Spacelabs Medical Inc....