• Questions Surround Future of the Artificial Heart

    Advances continue when it comes to artificial hearts. But count Karen May-Newman among the experts who wonder whether the artificial heart truly is the future.Yes, there are innovations such as the beatless artificial heart pioneered by Billy Cohn, MD, a cardiovascular surgeon and device innovator at the Texas Heart Institute, and his mentor Bud Frazier, MD.And just days after MPMN’s interview with May-Newman, the French company Carmat announced implantation of its own artificial heart,...
  • How Medtronic Made the World's Smallest Pacemaker

    The Micra pacemaker is about the size of a vitamin tablet. Medtronic engineers knew seven years ago that they wanted to build a pacemaker an order of magnitude smaller than what was out there. But how to do it was a different story.“When we first started, we didn’t even know how to do half of the stuff. We just put the goal out there,” says Mark Phelps, senior program director, diagnostics and monitoring at Medtronic. “Of course, everyone says you’re crazy until you figure it all out, and then...
  • Using Software Design to Drive Medical Device Differentiation

    The medical device industry, according to Chris Miles, is undergoing a fundamental transformation. Because of changes in the healthcare ecosystem, it is transitioning away from a hardware-centric to a software-centric focus as manufacturers shift to more data-centric business models. Miles, vice president of consulting services at Foliage (Burlington, MA), will share his thoughts on this shift at the MD&M West conference in Anaheim, CA, on Monday, February 10, at 1:00 p.m. In the following...
  • Ninja Polymers Create Superantibiotic to Squash Superbugs

    Researchers at IBM Research – Almaden (San Jose CA) and the Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (IBN; Singapore) have discovered a new superantibiotic derived from ordinary polyethylene terephthalate (PET), a common, and commonly recycled plastic. In a paper in Nature Communications the group describes their work and testing on mice with eyes infected with Candida Albicans.Dubbed “ninja polymers” by the scientists, they attack pathogens in a unique way. Whereas “normal” antibiotics...
  • New Light Shed on Wound Healing Process

    Of passing interest to anyone who's ever watched a small cut on their finger heal but perhaps of great interest to those in the so-called artificial skin space, National University of Singapore researchers have learned that some skin cells can bridge gaps in the substrate to help form a protective barrier over a wounded area. Their findings were first published online in the journal Nature Materials.In the abstract, Vedula et al. say, “We show that monolayers of human keratinocytes migrating...
  • Vector System Helps Patients Learning to Walk Again

    The University of Maryland Rehabilitation & Orthopaedic Institute, once known as Kernan Hospital, is the first U.S. institution to install Bioness Inc.'s Vector Gait and Safety System. Bioness says that its system “enables rehabilitative teams to increase patient mobility while preventing falls and reducing the risk of injury.” The system is now also installed at Cincinnati (OH) Children’s Hospital and WakeMed Rehabilitation Hospital in Raleigh, NC.Robotic training system helps patients...
  • The Forces Behind Cardiovascular Device Innovation

    From minimally invasive catheterization delivery to wireless power charging to overall miniaturization, the cardiovascular device field has seen plenty of advances in recent years.Karen May-Newman, PhD, has been in the thick of it as the director of the bioengineering program at San Diego State University, where she designs and runs transparent heart simulators that game out how left ventricular assist devices (LVADs) are changing the flow of blood through the heart and its valves.May-Newman is...
  • Microphotography Captures Microbubbles Breaking Up Fibrin Clot

    An example sequence from a fast frame camera movie (10 kfps). (a) Prior to ultrasound exposure, this frame shows the fluid channel on the left and fibrin clot to the right. (b) A microbubble brought to the boundary induces repeated local deformations under primary radiation forces associated with successive bursts (0.4 MPa) before penetrating the clot and translating (c). After coalescing with another bubble its translation continues and an intact bubble, along with two daughter bubbles that it...
  • Nanobots Could Be Controlled with Graphene Nanoantenna

    The field of nanotechnology has long been promoted by descriptions of nanorobots and nanomachines that can perform actions at the molecular level, mimicking the actions of cells. Long a darling subject of science fiction authors, nanomachines could conceivably be used in medicine for everything from drug delivery to detecting and destroying clusters of cancer cells. Earlier this year, Chinese researchers announced the development of cell-size robots that could be used in targeted drug delivery...
  • What's Next in 3-D Printing? We're All Ears!

    Not long ago, Medtech Pulse posted an informative video highlighting the efforts of Lawrence Bonassar, associate professor of biomedical engineering at Cornell University (Ithaca, NY) to create body parts such as ears using a 3-D printer and ‘ink’ composed of living cells.Bonassar is not alone in exploring the use of 3-D printing for biomedical applications. For example, Michael McAlpine, an assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at Princeton University (Princeton, NJ), has...
  • France Approves New Artificial Heart for Human Trials

    An artificial heart built with space tech precision. (Courtesy of Carmat)The French Health Authority ANSM has approved for human trials a new artificial heart made by French medtech company Carmat S.A. Carmat enlisted the help of Astrium, the world's second-largest aerospace firm, for the ultrahigh precision and durability necessary for the project.The artificial heart is constructed using both manmade and biological materials and is designed to last five years. Each of the 900 components must...
  • GlassesOff App Claims Vision Help

    A recently-released iPhone app claims, through a series of “game-like” exercises, to improve the vision of those who are finding they are beginning to need help in reading small type. GlassesOff is said to eliminate or reduce the need for reading glasses for those experiencing the inevitable loss of corneal elasticity that comes with age.GlassesOff is a personalized product that monitors user performance and progress, and constantly adjusts according to each user’s ongoing progress. (Courtesy...
  • Engineering the Beatless Artificial Heart

    The development of the artificial heart can be likened to the invention of the airplane, according to Billy Cohn, MD, a cardiovascular surgeon and device innovator at the Texas Heart Institute. Over the period of centuries, humans sought to develop a flying device with flapping wings that mimicked those of birds and insects. Da Vinci, for instance, created prototypes of flying apparatuses based on biomimicry. The Wright brothers, however, had a different idea that famously proved successful:...
  • Tongue Drive System Enables Wheelchair Control

    Subject navigates a course at the Shepherd Center in Atlanta, during the first clinical trials of the Tongue Drive System. (Photo courtesy of Georgia Institute of Technology)A tiny magnet embedded in a tongue through piercing, implantation or adhesion has been shown by a Georgia Institute of Technology team of researchers to be capable of acting as a controller for the user to direct the operation of electromechanical devices such as wheelchairs. The Georgia Tech Bionics Lab describes their...
  • MRI Machine Taps Huge Magnet to Offer Ultrahigh Resolution

    A new 10.5-T MRI can take images of the whole body but it will be first used to study the brain. “We hope to understand how the human brain works, or get close to understanding how the brain works, and then we hope to use that information to understand what happens during brain diseases and other perturbations in the brain,” says Kamil Ugurbil, PhD, director of the University of Minnesota's Center for Magnetic Resonance Research (CMRR), in a Minneapolis StarTribune video covering the delivery...
  • New X-Ray Tech Offers Gamechanging Image Clarity

    A new x-ray technology developed at MIT can image soft tissue with unprecedented clarity—and without the need for the contrast agents needed in traditional x-ray systems. The researchers, collaborating with the Massachusetts General Hospital, developed the system, which is smaller, less expensive, and needs a smaller radiation dose than current-gen x-ray technology, according to a recent MIT news release. A prototype of the novel x-ray system. The device features an eight-inch vacuum...
  • Drug-Eluting Contact Lens Passes Milestone

    A drug-eluting contact lens could be effective in treating glaucoma.In a paper published on ScienceDirect researchers from Massachusetts Eye and Ear/Harvard Medical School Department of Ophthalmology, Boston Children’s Hospital, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology describe a drug-eluting contact lens designed for prolonged delivery of latanoprost for the treatment of glaucoma. In vitro and in vivo studies with this lens showed an early burst of drug release followed by sustained...
  • 6 Promising Medical Applications of 3-D Printing

    Additive manufacturing, more commonly called 3-D printing, can be used to make everything from surgical guides and medical device prototypes to batteries.Some of the most inspiring applications of the technology, however, can be found in new applications of the technology to treat previously unmet clinical needs.See Susan York, Stratasys' North American business manager, chair a Learning Lab on 3-D printing strategies on Tuesday, February 11, at MD&M West in Anaheim, CA.1. Printing Tissue....
  • New Prosthetic Hand Provides Wearer with a Sense of Touch

    A newly developed artificial hand and its neural interface convey touch information to the wearer. The device, which includes 20 touch sensors, was recently demonstrated by a research team with members from Case Western Reserve University and the Cleveland Veterans Affairs Medical Center. A video (embedded below) shows a 48-year-old Ohio man using this prosthetic hand to pick up cherries and remove the stems without crushing the fruits.Spearheaded by Dustin Tyler, PhD, of Case's Department of...
  • Creating Bone with 3-D Printing and Hydrogel Scaffolds

    Two groups of researchers are working to create bone using considerably different strategies.One of those groups, headed up by Kevin Shakeshaff, a professor at the University of Nottingham, is endeavoring to use 3-D printing to crate accurate bone replacements that using cells harvested from the target patient.To accomplish that feat, Shakeshaff uses a printer to create a scaffold in the desired bone geometry that is later coated with stem cells.A similar scaffold-based approach has been used...