• Miniaturization Could Lead to Injectable Pacemaker

    An injectable, miniature pacemaker is being developed by Medtronic based on microelectronics and chip manufacturing techniques. (Photo courtesy of Medronic)Here's a story that just came across my desk: It's about a miniature, injectable pacemaker that could hit the market in five years.As reported in MIT's Technology Review, medical device giant Medtronic (Minneapolis) is developing a miniature pacemaker based on microelectronics and chip manufacturing that will be smaller than a Tic Tac. The...
  • Liquid Metal Simplifies Creation of Electrodes for Microfluidic Devices

    Researchers from North Carolina State University (NC State; Raleigh) have developed a faster, easier way to create microelectrodes for use in microfluidic devices by using liquid metal. The technology could be used in such diagnostic applications as blood-testing devices.“By making it easier to incorporate electrodes into microfluidic devices, we hope to facilitate research and development into new technologies that utilize those devices, such as biomedical tools,” says Michael Dickey, an...
  • In Case You Missed It: MD&M West in Review

    This year's MD&M West trade show and its co-located events provided a cornucopia of product launches, educational presentations, and medical device engineering advice. Luckily, you're not out of the loop if you didn't attend the show or missed something amid the endless aisles of the massive show floor. For your convenience, we've rounded up coverage by MPMN and several of our sister publications to bring you the best of MD&M West below.Five Medical Device Technologies that Point to the...
  • Validation Software Reduces Labeling Errors, Ensures Traceability

    In response to customer demand for one low-cost platform supporting traceability and validation, Via Information Tools (Naples, FL) launched ValiPack software at the MD&M West show earlier this month. Based on the company's Man-IT traceability software, ValiPack software validates each packaged unit for label compliance to avoid such issues as nonconformance penalties.Mislabeled product usually results from misidentification of the product at the point of packaging, according to the company...
  • 2 + 2 = Knee Cap

    A computationally generated view of a topology-optimized design for a porous bone implant scaffold. The linking of computational design with precision fabrication has potential for producing tissue scaffolds with tailored properties. (Image courtesy of Vivien Challis, School of Mathematics and Physics, The University of Queensland)A team of mathematicians from The University of Queensland (St. Lucia, Australia) has helped design a prototype for a new generation of bone implants that could...
  • Aluminum Oxide Coating Protects Aluminum Medical Devices

    After undergoing a 12.5-pH cleaning and sterilization process 10 times, an anodized aluminum sample without the Micralox coating (left) shows more corrosion than a sample with the coating (right). (Photo courtesy of Business Wire)An aluminum oxide coating has been developed for finishing aluminum medical devices. Offered by Sanford Process Corp. (SPC; Woonsocket, RI), the Micralox coating creates a microcrystalline barrier that produces a long-lasting, virtually indestructible surface,...
  • Antithrombogenic Polymer Membrane Inhibits Platelet Adhesion

    Tokyo-based Toray Industries Inc. has developed a polymer membrane that can reduce the attachment of blood platelets to its surface. Derived from nanotechnology and molecular chemistry, the new technology offers hope for antithrombogenic materials, whose surface performance tends to decline when exposed to blood components. The new membrane can be applied to products such as catheters and artificial kidney dialysis machines.“A big feature of this membrane is that you can apply it to all sorts...
  • Trading in Body Parts at MD&M West

    Synthetic tissue models offer a realistic testing alternative to the use of live animals and cadavers.One of the busiest booths at this year's MD&M West in Anaheim featured body parts—not real ones, of course, but synthetic ones made by SynDaver Labs (Tampa, FL). Soft and cold to the touch, a range of virtual body parts—including blood vessels, internal organs, and even a nearly complete skinned cadaver—filled metal lab trays.Why all the gore? SynDaver offers synthetic body parts as...
  • Micromolding of PEEK: It Can Be Done

    Although molding PEEK has historically been challenging, micromolding can, in fact, produce both simple and complex geometries using the material without extra cost, according to Scott Herbert, president of micromolding specialist Rapidwerks Inc. (Pleasanton, CA). In a presentation at the recent MD&M West conference sessions, Herbert spoke about "Precision Micromolding of PEEK Components" as well as associated benefits, obstacles, and considerations.Characterizing a micromolded part as...
  • Medical Device Assembly: LED- Vs. Lamp-Based Technologies

    Which is better for medical device assembly: A lamp-based UV spot-curing system or an LED-based one? "The answer to that depends on your process, the parts you're joining, and the application," says Mike Kay of Lumen Dynamics (Mississauga, ON, Canada). In his presentation, "High-Throughput, Low-Temperature UV Assembly of Medical Devices" at the MD&M West Innovation Briefs Theater last week, Kay addressed the pros and cons of each technology.LED systems are up-and-comers of sorts, according...
  • Simple and Precise Hydrogel Sensor Could Be Used for Glucose Monitoring

    New type of biological and chemical sensor based on hydrogel works by determining pH. The microscopic images at bottom show how the hydrogel stripes expand with decreasing acidity. (Photo courtesy of Birck Nanotechnology Center, Purdue University)Researchers at Purdue University (West Lafayette, IN) are developing a new type of biological and chemical sensor that has few moving parts and is highly sensitive, sturdy, and long-lasting. Capable of determining pH, the sensor could be used in...
  • Color Blind: Why You Shouldn't Treat Color as an Afterthought in Device Design

    Clariant's Mevopur masterbatches are produced in ISO 13485-certified facilities.The use of color in a medical device can provide market differentiation and an attractive aesthetic that can appeal to consumers or discerning doctors, depending on the end use. But there’s more to color for medical device applications than meets the eye, according to George Pape, medical device and healthcare market manager at Clariant Masterbatches (Holden, MA). At MD&M West this past week, Pape and his...
  • Five Medical Device Technologies that Point to the Future

    From materials and equipment to software and artificial body parts, hundreds upon hundreds of medical device technologies were on view at this year’s MD&M West. Among them, five offerings stand out as technologies that could shape the direction of medical device development in the months and years to come.Wire-Reinforced Multilumen tubing Putnam Plastics (Dayville, CT) has developed a wire-reinforced multilumen tubing for minimally invasive procedures that the company says represents an...
  • Laser Sintering System Enables Development of Complex PEEK Prototypes

    Laser sintering can produce custom PEEK craniofacial implants quickly and economically. Manufacturer EOS (Novi, MI) had a lot to share at MD&M West this week regarding its P 800 laser-sintering system. Touted as the first laser-sintering system operating at up to 385°C processing high-performance polymers, the P 800 is enabling development of innovative and traditionally difficult-to-manufacture implants and parts.As the first and only U.S. company currently in possession of this...
  • Report Highlights Tomorrow's Drug-Delivery Coating Platforms

    A new report spotlighting advances in coating technologies will help developers and users alike to analyze a range of different platforms, therapeutic targets, and market drivers. Offered by Greystone Research Associates (Amherst, NH), "Drug Coatings and Coated Device Drug Delivery: Evolving Technology, Emerging Opportunities" provides readers with a detailed understanding of enabling technologies, candidate devices, market participants, and commercial prospects.Strides in drug-delivery coating...
  • Could Ceramic Drug-Eluting Stents Be on the Horizon?

    When speaking about the future of stents, bioabsorbable polymers and sometimes bioabsorbable magnesium tend to come up—rarely does the conversation turn to ceramics, however. But don’t count them out in stent development just yet. Bioceramics could, in fact, serve several prominent functions in next-generation drug-eluting stents, according to UK-based materials testing, analysis, and consultancy specialist Ceram.In its recent white paper “Stents—New Materials and Technologies for the Future,”...
  • Zirconia Ceramic Component Restores Voice to Cancer Patients

    Zirconia ceramic from Morgan Technical Ceramics is used as a valve material for a voice-restoration implant.Up to 15% of patients diagnosed with throat cancer every year require a laryngectomy, which results in speech loss. Some speech and vocal function can be restored by means of valves that reconnect the trachea and esophagus. Current valve designs consist of a tube and incorporate a flap that opens as air is forced through. However, this valve, which is traditionally made from silicone...
  • 4000 Years of Medical Device Materials…and Counting

    Biomimetics—a big-sounding word used to describe science’s quest for new materials and processes derived from models in the natural world. But in an 18-minute presentation available on YouTube, Abhay Pandit, a professor of mechanical and biomedical engineering at the National University of Ireland Galway, argues compellingly that the search for materials that mimic Mother Nature goes back at least to the ancient Egyptians.If you want to learn how Teflon found its way into the medical device...
  • Could California's Status Be Slipping as a Medtech Hub?

    California, along with Massachusetts and Minnesota, has long been regarded as a leading hub for the domestic (and global) medical device industry. But could its medtech stronghold soon be in jeopardy? A new report issued by the California Healthcare Institute, BayBio, and PricewaterhouseCoopers suggests that may just be the case.The 2011 California Biomedical Industry Report found that 80% of responding biomedical company CEOs in the state have been approached by other countries, states, or...
  • Seven Design Maxims to Consider When Developing a New Product

    Venkat Rajan, industry manager, medical devices, at Frost & Sullivan.During "Innovations in Medical Implant Technologies for the Next Decade," the keynote address of MPMN's recent virtual event, speaker Venkat Rajan of Frost & Sullivan presented predictions for the implant market in the next decade, spoke about new buzz words that will come into play, and identified some 'mega trends' that will impact implant design in coming years. In addition to this compelling information,...