• Do You Really Understand the Problem You're Trying to Solve?

    If I were to tell you it’s important to understand a problem before you start trying to solve it, you might reply with something like “nice one, Einstein” (sarcastically, of course…). Well then, did you know that one of the most common failures of entrepreneurs and startup companies—whether in the medical technology field or in other sectors—is not understanding the problem they are setting out to solve? And worse, that many of them had every intention of understanding the problem, but never...
  • The Best Places to Be a Med Device Engineer?

    As our sister publication MD+DI proclaimed, the medtech job market is heating up, and the demand for good engineering talent is outstripping supply. While that is certainly good news, it is less clear where in the United States is the best spot to be a medical device engineer.Qmed StaffIn our previous poll, the Twin Cities scored better than any of the other medtech hubs in the United States. But is it slipping?Roughly six months ago, we asked our audience where the best spot in the country for...
  • A Tangled Web: The World of Synthetic Spider Silk

    Who hasn’t read a Spider-Man comic book and watched the web slinger save someone with his super strong homemade webbing? It turns out manmade silk that is stronger than steel is closer than we think. Jordan BrandesEngineered spider silk fibers wrapped around a roller. Image from Bolt Threads. Easily marketable synthetic spider silk has been the holy grail of bioengineers for a long time and for good reason: it is five times stronger than steel and three times tougher than Kevlar.Earlier this...
  • Ex Machina: What Is the Risk of AI in Medtech?

    The recent film Ex Machina could serve as a warning for the unforeseen consequences associated with future medical technology.Brian BuntzAre we beginning to create a cloud-based healthcare monitoring network that is reminiscent of NSA’s warrantless surveillance program? A popular vision for the future of healthcare monitoring paints a picture of a vast network of iPatients, who play an active role in monitoring their own health metrics (or use technology that automates the process), and allow...
  • 7 Key Changes in the New EU In Vitro Diagnostic Medical Device Regulation

    EU regulatory requirements could soon become stricter for in vitro diagnostic medical devices (IVDs), which cover a range of products that can be used for diagnosis, therapeutic drug monitoring, disease screening, assessment of medical interventions, and population screening.Paula McCarthyManufacturers ofIVDs need to comply with the IVD directive 98/79/EC in order to place their products on the market in the European Union. Amidst calls for stricter regulation of medical devices within the EU,...
  • Preparing for the Next-Generation of Healthcare Monitoring

    AirStrip made waves earlier this month when it debuted its Apple Watch-compatible fetal monitoring technology. But in the words of the company's CEO Alan Portela: "This is not about an app. This is the next generation of monitoring."Brian BuntzThe developed world is facing a potential healthcare time bomb. While most of the world is already struggling with a shortage of caregivers, the numbers of patients with chronic diseases is quickly rising, while the pressure to keep healthcare costs down...
  • How Makers Could Change the (Medtech) World

    Medical device innovation is being democratized—at least for a handful of applications including prosthetics and diabetes monitoring technology. Brian BuntzLiam, then five years old, shows off his Robohand.Slowly but surely, the so-called Maker Movement is beginning to have an influence on the medical device sector, bringing a dramatically different approach to product development to the industry and turning people with no experience developing medical devices into healthcare technology...
  • 3-D Bioprinting and the Future of Regenerative Medicine

    A professor at Drexel University is working to use 3-D printing to design scaffolding to harness the body's inflammatory response to promote healing.Kristopher SturgisKara Spiller, an assistant professor, school of biomedical engineering at Drexel University is looking into the use of 3-D printing to study how human bones heal after breaking. Printing out bone precursors, she is helping shed led on how bone and other tissues heal, and she is working to discover the precise amount of...
  • Google Beefs Up Life Sciences Unit with NIMH Hire

    Earlier this week Google announced that it had hired Thomas Insel, former director of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) to be a part of its growing Life Science group. Insel was brought on to apply the company’s vast technological resources toward mental illness. Jordan Brandes Thomas Insel has been a part of the NIMH since 2002 and has had a fundamental role in practical clinical trials, autism research, and the role of mental illness. He is a member of the Institute of Medicine,...
  • Robotics Firm Sets Its Sights on Wheelchairs and Forklifts

    A company known as 5D Robotics wants to bring the field of smart robotics to manufacturing, medical technology, transportation, and other sectors. Brian Buntz5D Robotics’ technology could be used to navigate wheelchairs. Image courtesy City of Carlsbad.5D Robotics’ (Carlsbad, CA) navigation technology was originally developed for military applications to detect land mines, but the number of applications of the company's technology could be multitudinous.The company uses ultra wideband (UWB)...
  • The Technologies That Are Helping Paralyzed People Walk

    In the past couple of years, there have been a number of technological breakthroughs that have enabled paralyzed people to walk again with support.Brian BuntzIt may be early yet, but there have been a number of recent advances to give paralyzed people hope that they may one day regain feeling in their limbs—and even walk. There have already been a handful of patients who have, after years or paralysis, taken a stand and in some cases walked without support.Consider the case of Darek Fidyka, a...
  • How Metrology Is Solving Its Shadow Puppet Problem

    For decades, many engineers have measured the accuracy of manufactured parts using a method bearing a certain resemblance to the method kids use to make shadow puppets appear on a wall.Brian BuntzThe Micro-Vu Vertex vision system with a four-station touch probe kit is shown here testing a medical device component. For a substantial part of the twentieth century, the way the tolerances of manufactured objects was measured remained essentially unchanged. Invented in 1920, the optical...
  • Want to Win the Minnesota Medtech Week Innovation Prize?

    We are hosting a contest to acknowledge the most innovative new products, services, and technologies developed by Minnesota Medtech Week exhibitors.Chris Newmarker and Brian BuntzUBM Canon is looking to identify the most innovative exhibitors at Minnesota Medtech Week, and give them the attention they deserve. The Minnesota Medtech Week Innovation Prize is a contest that will acknowledge the most innovative products, services, and technologies developed in recent years by exhibitors...
  • 72 Hours to Shift the Lives of the Disabled

    An array of promising technologies to help the disabled were on display at the most-recent makeathon hosted by the nonprofit TOM and Makerbot. Brian BuntzOne of the prototypes developed at the Tikkun Olam Makers makeathon was a hand-free cupholder for crutches. The device won the Prize4Life award for Independence.There are 1 billion people living with disabilities worldwide, according to the WHO. “That is one in seven people,” says Sefi Attias, CTO of the global nonprofit Tikkun Olam...
  • Could an All-Plastic Design Make TAVR 30 Times Safer?

    Direct Flow Medical explores the next generation of transcatheter aortic valve replacement devices made from polymers and completely free of metals. The company says that the all-plastic design could result in a safety profile that is a quantum leap better than that of TAVR valves with metal-based frames. Kristopher SturgisWhile catheter-based heart valves represent a much-less invasive treatment option than traditional surgical valve replacement, the procedure is not without its risks. A...
  • Why the IoT Really Will Revolutionize Patient Care

    It is practically inevitable that the Internet of Things will remake how we care for the sick and elderly, although uncertainty around HIPAA may delay that promise.Brian BuntzLast year, The Guardian declared that the “'Internet of things' is the most over-hyped technology.” While any promising new technology attracts its fair share of hype, the aging Baby Boomer generation is poised to embrace IoT-powered technologies to help them maintain independence as they age and the global population...
  • These 10 Medtech CEOs Make the Most

    Qmed analyzed SEC filings for some of the the medical device industry’s largest companies. Read on to find out which CEOs received the most total compensation.Chris NewmarkerOmar Ishrak, MedtronicMedtronic CEO Omar Ishrak was the best compensated among the medical device industry’s top executives over the past year, mostly because of $25.6 million he received to help him pay his taxes after the company’s $48 billion merger with Covidien.Among 18 companies publicly traded in the U.S., average...
  • Apple Positions Its Smartwatch as a Medical Monitor

    Health monitoring was featured prominently at the most recent Apple Event on September 9 in San Francisco. The company demonstrated how the Apple Watch can be used to help monitor fetal health and its ability to help physicians monitor patients remotely.Brian BuntzIt was something of a surprise that health monitoring was featured so prominently in Apple’s product announcement on September 9, in which the tech giant also unveiled a bigger iPad, new versions of iPhones, and an upgrade of its...
  • Can the Human Body Be a Wireless Communication Platform?

    Last month, researchers released a prototype for a new wireless communication technique that sends magnetic signals through the human body, leveraging its natural magnetic waves. The technology could offer a more secure way to communicate information between wearable electronic devices. Jordan Brandes Jiwoong Park, a grad student in UCSD professor's Patrick Mercier lab, shows off a magnetic coil that treats the human body as a network. Image courtesy of UC San Diego.Though it is still in the...
  • A Game Plan for Systematic Innovation

    The secret to developing a game-changing medical device is that it demands a methodical, rather than chaotic, product development process. Craig SchererCraig Scherer is a senior partner and cofounder of Insight Product Development.   Thinking outside the proverbial box does not have to require the mindset of a mad genius or the R&D budgets of the largest tech companies. Innovation can and should be systematic and it’s still possible to innovate in a highly regulated field ...