• Self-Healing Shape-Memory Polymers Could Turn Everyone into a Terminator

    Thermal image of a metal test specimen undergoing the photothermal heating method. (Image courtesy of American Institute of Physics)Researchers at Arizona State University (Tempe) have created a material that may be able to sense damage in structural materials, such as cracking in a fiber-reinforced composite. The novel material may also be able to heal such damage. Undertaken by Michael Garcia, Yirong Lin, and Henry Sodano from the schools of mechanical, aerospace, chemical, and materials...
  • Rattle-Type Mesoporous Silica Nanoparticles Could Enhance the Delivery of Cancer Drugs

    Advancing the use of silica nanomaterials for in vivo cancer therapy, a team of scientists headed by Fangqiong Tang, a chemistry professor at the Technical Institute of Physics and Chemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences (Beijing), has shown that silica nanorattles can enhance the effectiveness of in vivo drug-delivery therapy while reducing the toxicity of antitumor drugs.As detailed in ACS Nano, the researchers chose elaborately designed silica nanorattles with a mesoporous and hollow...
  • Label-Free In Vivo Imaging Technique Quickly Captures Molecular Activity

    A fast, sensitive, optical imaging technique developed by researchers at Harvard University allows for label-free in vivo stimulated Raman scattering (SRS) imaging. This progress in microscopy could someday contribute to improved imaging and diagnostics while possibly expediting tumor removal or eliminating the need for painful biopsies.Common biomolecular viewing methods such as labeling with green fluorescent protein, conventional IR microscopy, and coherent anti-Stokes Raman scattering...
  • Examining Shape-Memory Polymers by the Numbers

    Scientists from MIT (Cambridge, MA) have devised a method for mathematically modeling the behavior of shape-memory polymers. This capability could help to optimize designs of next-generation devices that employ the materials by predicting their strains, forces, and interactions.Although a great deal of research has been devoted to analysis of shape-memory alloys, shape-memory polymers offer several distinct advantages, according to the researchers. For example, one representative polymer...
  • Bioabsorbable Stents Could Make Big Bucks for Abbott, Other Innovators

    Bioabsorbable cardiac devices such as Abbott's Absorb bioresorbable vascular scaffold, currently in development, could prove to be quite profitable.It looks as though the second great stent debate has been settled—in the United States, at least. A recent global survey conducted by iData Research revealed that the majority of cardiologists in the United States, Europe, China, India, the Middle East, and Africa would use a bioabsorbable stent to treat coronary angioplasty. These data represent...
  • World's Fastest Camera Opens Up New Horizons for Biosensing Applications

    The Megaframe 32 x 32 single photon avalanche diode array is fabricated using 0.13-µm CMOS technology by STMicroelectronics.A European consortium comprising the National Physical Laboratory (Middlesex, UK), ST Microelectronics (Geneva, Switzerland)  the University of Edinburgh, and TU Delft (the Netherlands) has been working to develop an ultrafast camera that can record images at the rate of one million frames per second. Known as the Megaframe Imager, the camera consists of an extremely...
  • Are Metals Being Muscled Out of Medical Implants?

    PEEK-Optima, manufactured by Invibio, has replaced metal in some implantable applications.Thanks to their mechanical strength and other desirable properties, metals have been a mainstay in medical implants for decades. But will they continue to be prominent in next-generation implants, or will they be passed over in favor of other materials? The answer may just be both.Over time, PEEK and other 'newer' biomaterials have supplanted metals—especially stainless steel—in a number of orthopedic...
  • Genesis Plastics Welding, PolyOne Develop RF Welding Breakthrough for TPEs

    A new RF welding technology enables nonhalogenated and nonplasticized TPEs to be RF welded into any 2-D shape or configuration.Facing environmental and health concerns with the use of traditional materials, manufacturers of medical fluid-delivery products are looking for alternatives that avoid the use of halogens and plasticizers. Claiming that it now offers a breakthrough technology, Genesis Plastics Welding (Indianapolis) has developed an RF welding method in conjunction with PolyOne GLS...
  • Screening Carbon Nanotubes for Nanocircuit Applications

    Metallic and semiconducting single-wall carbon nanotubes are distinguished using a new imaging tool for rapidly screening the structures.Semiconducting nanostructures might be used to revolutionize electronics by replacing conventional silicon components and circuits. However, an obstacle to implementing the use of semiconducting single-wall carbon nanotubes is that metallic versions form unavoidably during the manufacturing process, contaminating the semiconducting nanotubes. But now,...
  • Light and Sound Combine to Yield Microscopic Imaging Capabilities

    By combining photoacoustic tomography (PAT) with gold nanobeacons (GNBs), a team of St. Louis-based researchers have achieved what they claim is an unprecedented level of imaging detail. If commercialized, the imaging technology could allow for earlier diagnosis of disease as well as the elimination of the need for invasive biopsies.Enabled by an inherent sensitivity to hemoglobin, PAT fuses optical and acoustic imaging to capture high-resolution images of microvasculature. However, it does not...
  • Air Force Technology Lands Role in Orthopedic Implant Design

    Israeli researchers have modified a machinery-monitoring technique employed in the Air Force to suit medical applications. As a result, the approach could someday take off in terms of evaluating and improving orthopedic implant design.To determine whether a system could benefit from preventative maintenance, the Israeli and American air forces often use a method called ferrography. This technique entails the extraction and analysis of tiny iron particles—hence the name—from lubricants such as...
  • What's Next for Medical Electronics?

    In honor of MPMN's 25th anniversary, I recently hosted several roundtables with industry experts to pick their brains about how various fields have changed over the past 25 years and what technologies we can look forward to in coming years. During a roundtable with experts in electronics manufacturing and power management, I was especially curious to see what their predictions were for what the future might hold—and ultimately wasn't disappointed with their insight.Of course, power management...
  • Novel Microfluidic Device Technology Saves Time and Blood

    A new microfluidic chip will reduce the amount of blood and time required to test for cancer biomarkers.Researchers at Brigham Young University (Provo, UT) have invented a microdevice that could decrease the amount of blood and time required to test for cancer markers in a patients' blood. Chemistry professor Adam Woolley’s research, published in the journal Lab on a Chip, details the device and technique that would allow for effective detection of biomarkers in a blood sample in a matter of...
  • Application Development Kit Simplifies Design of Wirelessly Enabled Implants

    With patient care moving from the hospital to the home in many cases, telemetry systems and wireless technology are increasingly in demand. In an effort to cater to this demand while facilitating integration, Zarlink Semiconductor (Ottawa, ON, Canada) has introduced an application kit for the design, evaluation, prototyping, and development of wireless radiofrequency telemetry systems for medical implant applications."Customers are designing our wireless radio technology into approved...
  • Something's Fishy About New Bone-Repair Material

    Chemist Bor-Sen Chiou examines a film made from nanofibers after they have been electrospun onto aluminum foil.Rattan, ceramic, silk, foamy metal—what will scientists think of next for repairing bones and cartilage? How about fish gelatin?U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) chemist Bor-Sen Chiou—together with chemist Roberto Avena-Bustillos and technicians Haani Jafri and Tina Williams—is experimenting with natural gelatin extracted from the skin of a seagoing fish called Alaskan pollock to...
  • 10 Tips for Medical Micromolding

    SMC offers 10 tips to OEMs that require micromolding of parts.As everyone in the medical device industry knows, miniaturization is the future. Devices, parts, and feature sizes are rapidly shrinking in order to increase a product's functionality while maintaining or reducing package size, to facilitate portability for point-of-care diagnostics, and to improve patient acceptance and comfort. But achieving these tiny parts presents new challenges, especially in manufacturing.Avoiding these...
  • Is Being First to Market All It's Cracked Up to Be?

    Being first to market with a novel product design that meets an unmet need is the holy grail of the medical device industry. But should it be?While at BIOMEDevice San Jose last week, I attended a conference presentation by Ivan Vesely, founder and CSO at ValveXchange Inc. (Aurora, CO). Vesely gave an interesting presentation about the company’s two-piece, exchangeable, bioprosthetic tissue valve system. The company claims that this product eliminates the need for open-heart surgery and...
  • Taking the Pulse of Medical Device Laser Processing

    Apropos of the 50th anniversary of the laser this year, laser technology seemed to be ubiquitous at last week’s BIOMEDevice trade show in San Jose. And it seems as though after 50 years, lasers for medical device manufacturing are primed for change.Two back-to-back presentations at the show’s Innovation Briefs Theater focused on various aspects of laser processing for medical device manufacturing. First up, Tony Hoult of IPG Photonics (Oxford, MA) stated his case for why flashlamp-pumped solid-...
  • New Modeling Method Predicts Nanomaterial Toxicity

    From drug-delivery applications and cancer treatment to x-ray technology and implant integration, nanomaterials are a promising area of biotechnology research. However, the question remains: Are they safe?Now, scientists at the University of North Carolina (UNC; Chapel Hill) are beginning to show that the biological effects of manufactured nanoparticles can be predicted based on their chemical, physical, and geometrical properties. Headed by Alexander Tropsha, professor and chair of the UNC...
  • Flat and Flexible Organic ICs Can Monitor Contents of Catheters

    A thin, flat organic transistor and complementary IC is flexible enough to be wrapped around a catheter, enabling measurements of properties inside the device.Japanese researchers have developed thin, flat, and flexible organic transistors and complementary integrated circuits (ICs). Incorporated into a thin polyimide sheet, the ICs can be wrapped around a catheter, enabling measurement of physical or chemical properties inside the device. “Flexible organic ICs are biologically friendly, so...