• Electrode Arrays Could Help Control Prosthetic Devices

    Based on the idea that nerve cells on amputated limbs can grow only when they are adjacent to a support structure, Ravi Bellamkonda and his team of researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology (Atlanta) have designed a tubular support scaffold with tiny channels that fit snugly around bundles of nerve cells. The scientists' goal is to develop prosthetic limbs that feature motor control and a sense of touch.According to a report in MIT's Technology Review, the scaffold begins as a flat...
  • Novel MRI Technology Improves Imaging of the Beating Heart

    Three-chamber view of the heart achieved using new high-magnetic-field MRI technology. (Image courtesy of Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin)Scientists at the Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin and the Max-Delbrück-Center for Molecular Medicine (Berlin-Buch) have revolutionized technology for imaging the beating heart. Produced in one of the world's most powerful MRI systems, with power equivalent to 150,000 times Earth's magnetic field, the images provide much higher detail than standard...
  • Self-Assembling Nanofiber Spheres Act as Cell Carriers in Tissue Repair

    Injectable nanofibrous microspheres facilitate cartilage repair and regeneration.A team of researchers at the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor) has developed nanofibrous hollow microspheres that self-assemble from star-shaped biodegradable polymers. Serving as cell carriers, the nanofiber spheres can be injected into the body to facilitate cartilage repair and regeneration.To create the delivery system, the researchers took a biomimetic approach, employing biodegradable nanofibers to design a...
  • Printable Conductive Ink Dispenses with Sintering Step

    In a previous Medtech Pulse blog, we reported on a direct-write process for printing electrodes on a polyphenylsulfone spinal-therapy devices. Now, a team of scientists under Shlomo Magdassi from the Institute of Chemistry at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem reports that it has developed a conductive ink for printing electronics that does not require a post-printing sintering step.According to Nanowerk, the method involves the addition of a latent sintering agent following the printing step....
  • Are Medical Devices the New Drugs?

    Is pharma's time in the spotlight running out in terms of treating heart disease?Recent reports indicate a potential shift in healthcare as researchers and doctors are increasingly just saying no to drugs and instead embracing medical devices to treat certain conditions. The notion of passing over drugs in favor of devices is growing in popularity in the treatment of such conditions as Alzheimer's disease, while new drug development for heart disease seems to be slowing down. So, as minimally...
  • Direct-Write Process Prints Electrode on a Spinal-Therapy Device

    An electrically conductive spinal-therapy component made from Radel PPSU is fabricated using a direct-printing process known as micropenning.A direct-printing process developed by Micropen Technologies (Honeoye Falls, NY) has been used to apply patterned conductive and dielectric thick-film coatings onto a disposable spinal therapy component made from Radel polyphenylsulfone (PPSU). Supplied by Solvay Advanced Polymers LLC (Alpharetta, GA), this resin is used to form an electrically and...
  • While Therapeutically Valuable, Nanodiamonds Still Raise Genotoxicity Concerns

    Nanodiamonds are considered to be of value for a variety of therapeutic applications. For example, for treating diabetes, their high surface area enables the bonding of insulin, which can then be released on demand at specific locations. However, while studies show that nanodiamonds are biocompatible at the cellular level, concern remains that they can activate DNA repair proteins in embryonic stem cells, potentially causing DNA damage.In a new study titled "DNA Damage in Embryonic Stem...
  • Nanostructured Metal Foam Electrodes Could Lead to Ultrafast-Charging Batteries

    Compact, rechargeable, and capable of incorporating intelligent electronics, lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries are playing an increasingly important role in portable medical devices. Now, a team of researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has developed a method of using nanostructured metal foams to create battery electrodes that enable Li-ion batteries to undergo a 90% charge in just two minutes.The speed at which batteries can charge up and release power is primarily limited...
  • MRI Could Eventually Produce Images in Living Color

    Current MRI technology produces black and white images that are often blurred. The problem with black-and-white images is they are often too difficult to interpret--even by experienced physicians. In an effort to add some color to imaging techniques, Li Sun, an associate professor in the Cullen College of Engineering’s department of mechanical engineering at the University of Houston, is developing a contrasting agent that is designed to add color to MRI images. His goal is to make such images...
  • Saint-Gobain Imparts Silicone Micromolding Wisdom at BIOMEDevice Boston

    While at BIOMEDevice Boston last week, I attended a presentation on the show floor focused on micromolding of liquid silicone rubber. Presented by Jeff LeFan, applications engineer at Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics (Portage, WI), the talk centered on the various applications for and advantages of the specialized process in addition to extolling the benefits of silicone. As is the case with any discussion on micromolding, there was the common, yet important, cautionary refrain that...
  • LED Light Engine Optics Module Doubles Light Output for Endoscopy

    Schott North America (Southbridge, MA) took advantage of the recent BIOMEDevice Boston trade show to spread the word about the release of its second-generation LEDgine light-engine platform. Featuring a modular design, the improved optics module offers better efficiency and increased light output compared with its predecessor for endoscopy and other medical applications, according to the company. "By taking advantage of the latest in LED technology and the chips that are available, we've been...
  • Cancer-Targeting Nanopolymer Could Help Reduce Drug Side Effects

    A nanopolymer developed by Purdue scientist W. Andy Tao could enable doctors to better assess whether cancer drugs are reaching their targets. (Purdue Agricultural Communication photo/Tom Campbell)A biochemist from Purdue University (West Lafayette, IN) has developed a synthetic drug-delivery nanopolymer that could enable doctors to determine whether a cancer drug has hit its target. If successful, this technology could help reduce the side effects associated with cancer therapies.Developed by...
  • Proto Labs Supports Prototyping of 'Cool Ideas'

     While at the BIOMEDevice trade show in Boston, quick-turn prototyping and short-run production services provider Proto Labs (Maple Plain, MN) has announced the launch of the Cool Idea! award. Over the course of the year, the company plans to support innovative product ideas potentially in any industry, including the medical device industry, by awarding $100,000 worth of functioning Firstcut CNC-machined and/or Protomold injection-molded parts. Rewarding one or more winners per...
  • Could the University of Missouri’s Noninvasive Glucose Monitor Revolutionize Diabetes Care?

    Xu Zhi and his team developed a noninvasive glucose monitor that uses near-infrared light to detect glucose levels without the need for drawing blood.For years—decades even—researchers have fervently sought the Holy Grail of diabetes care: the noninvasive glucose monitor. But despite dedicated research and even a briefly commercialized product, a viable noninvasive monitoring technology has remained somewhat elusive. There’s new hope on the horizon, however.  Researchers at the University...
  • IBN and IBM Team Up to Create Superbug-Busting Polymer Nanoparticles

    Transmission electron microscope images of an MRSA cell before (left) and after (right) being treated with biodegradable polymer nanoparticles developed by IBN and IBM. After treatment, the cell wall and membrane are damaged.Scientists at the Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (IBN; Singapore) and IBM Research (Almaden, CA) have developed what they are billing as the first biodegradable polymer nanoparticles for combating drug-resistant superbugs such as methicillin-resistant...
  • Novel Medical Device Designed by 'The Dead'

      Demonstrating that a good idea can come from unlikely sources, a keyboardist, a roadie, and a real estate developer have developed a medical device that alleviates discomfort often associated with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) treatments for sleep apnea. The interesting story of how Jeff Chimenti, a keyboard player for various bands alongside the remaining members of the Grateful Dead, along with roadie friend A.J. Santella and real estate developer Billy Procida,...
  • NIST Microreactor Could Lead to New Biodegradable Polymers

    A typical NIST microreactor plate measures approximately 40 x 90 mm cm. The channel, filled with plastic beads carrying the enzyme catalyst, is 2 mm wide and 1 mm deep. (Photo by Kundu, NIST)Using a microfluidic device consisting of a small block of aluminum with a tiny groove carved in it filled with tiny beads, a team of researchers from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST; Gaithersburg, MD) and the Polytechnic Institute of New York University (Brooklyn, NY) is developing...
  • Fraunhofer Sees Future for Laser-Sintered Surgical Instruments

    The Fraunhofer Institute thinks that surgical instruments with complex geometries and hollow channels can now be laser sintered.Designers and developers of medical devices have questioned the suitability of laser sintering for certain applications, according to Philipp Imgrund, manager of the biomaterials technology department at Fraunhofer Institute IFAM (Bremen, Germany). For example, process repeatability and material selection have been problematic. But now, Imgrund says, the technology is...
  • Human Blood May Serve as Base of Next-Gen Electronic Components

    In the case of future biologic-electronic interfaces, the claim that an innovative electronic component is a byproduct of someone's blood, sweat, and tears may not be a complete exaggeration. A team of researchers in India has detailed the development of a liquid memristor made from human blood that could serve as the interface between human tissues or nerve cells and an electronic medical device such as robotic limbs or artificial eyes.Proposed in 1971 and realized just in 2008 using titanium...
  • Carbon Nanotube–Based Microfluidic Device Traps Cancer Cells

    A new microfluidic device developed by scientists from Harvard and MIT consists of posts made from carbon nanotubes that can capture cancer cells.As the previous Medtech Pulse post comments, the field of microfluidic devices is one of the hottest research disciplines in the the area of medical device design and development. Adding to the heat, scientists at Harvard University (Cambridge, MA) and MIT (Cambridge, MA) have developed a microfluidic device that can single out individual cancer cells...