• 2 Mistakes You Should Avoid with Medical Plastics Sterilization

    With 15 years of experience consulting on polymers in the medical device field, Stephen Spiegelberg has spotted plenty of mistakes to avoid when it comes to sterilizing medical plastics.Here are two major mistakes that Spiegelberg, president of Boston-based Cambridge Polymer Group, says you should avoid:1. Choosing the Wrong Sterilization MethodThere are three major sterilization methods: ethylene oxide, gamma radiation, or electron beam radiation.“The common issue we see with companies new to...
  • Medtech Biocompatibility Testing Is Seeing a Major Shift

    There’s been a change afoot in the medical device industry in the way companies test for biocompatibility—with a shift away from animal tests toward chemical characterization tests in the laboratory, according to Thor Rollins, a biocompatibility expert at Nelson Laboratories. Nelson Labs analyst using a GC-MS to perform chemical evaluations. (Image courtesy of Nelson Labs)“It was only …. in the last year and a half that there has really been a strong push by the FDA to get involved. … It...
  • DIY Engineers Hack Healthcare

    The do-it-yourself (DIY) movement is exploding, and intrepid consumers are developing custom code and hardware for everything from smartphones to televisions. In recent years, the practice has made its way into the medtech industry, as patients began opening the hood on devices like glucose monitors, insulin pumps, hearing aids, and heart monitors just to name a few. These hackers aren’t only tweaking devices for themselves; they’re illuminating the light bulb for the rest of the industry,...
  • Software Upgrades Make This Assembly Robot Ever-More Powerful

    In a way, a two-armed robot called Baxter is similar to a smartphone. The capabilities of the robot can be expanded through software updates. “We have developers coming up with software that enables Baxter to do things we never dreamed of,” says Carl Palme, product manager at Rethink Robotics (Boston), which developed Baxter.For instance, researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnical Institute (Troy, NY) recently integrated the 165-lb. robot in an electric wheelchair to create an assistive system...
  • Study: Google Glass Improves Surgeon's Performance

    Word on the street is that head-mounted displays like Google Glass are a solution looking for a problem to solve. As one article put it: Nobody knows what it's for.But as it turns out, Google Glass and similar technologies may end up playing an important role in medicine—especially in surgery. In the past couple of years, scores of surgeons have tested out the technology, often with rave reviews. To date, however, hard data were lacking about its benefits in the operating room (OR), however.A...
  • Apple's HealthKit Stumbles Out of the Gate

    Apple’s health-tracking app, known as HealthKit, has finally made its debut after months of hype—but it’s been a pretty rocky start.After its release was delayed from the initial rollout of iOS8, the app was bundled into the ill-fated iOS 8.0.1 software update, which included software glitches for touch ID, the Safari Web browser, and even the keyboard and the phone’s ability to access cellular reception. The new iOS 8.0.2 update should fix those problems, Apple says, while enabling consumers...
  • The Battery-Free Chip That Could Power Your Devices

    As technology continues to shrink and automate the world around us, two major challenges are inescapable: finding a sufficient power source, and procuring the aforementioned power source at a reasonable cost.Recently, Amin Arbabian, an assistant professor of electrical engineering at Stanford University, developed a battery-free chip the size of ant that he maintains will cost only a few cents to make. The device is so energy efficient that it gathers power from the electromagnetic waves that...
  • Designing Next-Generation TAVI Technology

    Boston Scientific has just announced the enrollment of the first U.S. patients in a clinical trial of its Lotus valve system. The company hails the device as a second-generation transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI) technology, which was developed to overcome design limitations of the first generation TAVI products, which are now marketed by Edwards Lifesciences and Medtronic.“The Lotus valve design was based on observations, in the early 2000s, of the progress of the PVT valve, which...
  • Ebola-fighting Device Announced Out of Harvard

    A new “biospleen” device being developed by scientists at Harvard University may help Ebola patients, according to a recent Washington Post article.Researchers at Harvard’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering developed the blood-cleansing device to combat sepsis. More than a decade earlier, other scientists wrote in the Journal of Infectious Diseases that some aspects of the Ebola virus mimic the activity of severe bacterial infections, leading to septic shock, in which the...
  • Robots with Super Dexterity Could Be Game Changer for Medtech

    Updated September 29, 2014Robots—including those in both manufacturing and surgery—may end up showing more dexterity than ever, thanks to a wave of sensor advances.GelSight CEO Bill Yost, for example, sees potential in the space for the MIT-developed sensor technology the Cambridge, MA–based company has been seeking to commercialize, even though the company is concentrating on other sectors for now.GelSight might show promise determining whether skin cells or cancerous, or conducting a...
  • How Medical Extrusion is Enabling Optimization of Endovascular Devices

    The development of vascular access and delivery devices demands careful consideration of the best combination of material and dimensions while accounting for the harsh conditions of the human anatomy.By Jennifer Fauria and Andrew TabordaExtrusion for new endovascular technologies is challenged by anatomical demands.The human vascular system presents uniquely demanding conditions: A high blood pressure environment is paired with elastic smooth muscle tissue, allowing vessels to expand while...
  • Engineer Steals Millions of Files from GE Healthcare

    Large medical device companies may have more reason to look at how they secure their proprietary information after a recent case in which a computer engineer admitted to stealing roughly 2.4 million files of corporate secrets from a Wisconsin subsidiary of GE Healthcare and sent them to China, states GE and the FBI.A federal judge in Eastern Wisconsin on September 3 issued a permanent injunction against Jun Xie, a former pulse sequence diagram engineer at GE Healthcare in Waukesha, barring Xie...
  • How Your iPad Could Become a Visual Therapy Device

    Ever think that strapping an iPad to your face would be a good idea?A design firm from Toronto does. The company has created an inexpensive headset that can turn your iPad Mini, as well as the soon-to-be released iPhone 6, into a portable virtual reality device—with benefits potentially extending to the medical field, assuming the device makes it the market.AirVR is a Kickstarter project seeking $20,000 in funding to deliver an inexpensive, portable headset containing two lenses that can...
  • IBM's Watson Teams Up with the Mayo Clinic

    Last week Mayo Clinic announced a partnership with IBM, with plans to use its cognitive computer known as Watson to help match patients with appropriate clinical trials more efficiently than ever before.Researchers believe that the advanced speed with which Watson can match patients to appropriate clinical trials can help patients find specific treatments more quickly, and possibly lead to speedier discoveries and alternative treatment options. The Mayo Clinic will begin with research studies...
  • Is This Cyborg the First of Many?

    In an age where technology continues to shrink, we constantly search for new ways to better fit devices into our purses and pockets, around our wrists and strapped to our heads. It wasn’t until recently we began exploring the possibilities of implantable technology, and with that came what might be the world’s very first cyborg. Neil Harbisson (Photo courtesy of Wikipedia)In a recent interview with CNN, readers were introduced to Neil Harbisson, the world’s first legally recognized cyborg...
  • Jetting Toward More Precise Fluid Dispensing

    The medical device industry may have been stuck on pretty simple ways of applying adhesives. But innovation is finally on the way—with product miniaturization needs and regulatory scrutiny forcing medtech companies to become increasingly sophisticated.Granted, half of medical device makers are still using manual dispensing technology for adhesives, according to a recent poll. Traditional contact-based manual dispensing is a process most kindergarteners using Elmer’s glue would recognize. A...
  • NIH Website Offers 3-D Printing Models

    3-D printing is the buzzword of the hour. But many doctors, educators, and scientists cannot create their own CAD models to get the 3-D ball rolling. To address this need, the National Institutes of Health (NIH)—together with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute for Child Health and Human Development, and the National Library of Medicine—has established a platform for exchanging 3-D printable biomedical models.The NIH 3D Print...
  • Apple to Test HealthKit on Diabetics

    Apple is on the cusp of launching clinical trials with diabetics and chronic disease patients using their patented HealthKit app, as they prepare to launch their vision that could streamline the process of sharing medical information.Apple has partnered with Stanford University Hospital and Duke University Hospital as they look to begin rolling out their HealthKit platform, an app that could create a sort of health dashboard. HealthKit works by gathering data from a multiple of sources, and...
  • How Nanotech Could Boost Breast Cancer Detection

    Scientists have developed an innovative “electronic skin” that can detect and image small lumps in a woman’s breast that normal manual exams miss, allowing for earlier detection of breast cancer.The device has been tested on a breast model made of silicone, and allows doctors to see smaller lumps, and image them to understand whether or not the lump is cancerous, according to a statement from American Chemical Society.The electronic skin is made out of nanoparticles and polymers that can image...
  • Why Google's Foray into Quantum Physics Could Reshape Medtech

    Google is on the verge of beginning the design and construction of their own hardware for a quantum computer, a machine designed to use quantum physics to solve problems that conventional computers cannot.Image of a quantum coreThe benefits of quantum computing machines are still being discovered, but the general understanding is that a machine powered by quantum physics can solve problems, process data, and execute algorithms much faster than a conventional machine. This is because qubits can...