• 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...
  • New Eight-Channel Receivers Help Reduce Size, Complexity, and Power Consumption of Ultrasound Systems

     New receivers meet the growing need for smaller, faster, lower-power ultrasound equipment.Analog Devices Inc. (Norwood, MA) has launched the fourth generation of its octal (eight-channel) ultrasound receivers. The two new integrated circuits (ICs) in the series reduce system size, complexity, and power consumption for high-end, mid-range, and portable ultrasound systems, meeting the growing need for smaller, faster, lower-power ultrasound equipment.The new AD9278 and AD9279 receiver chips...
  • Wound-Care Technology Offers Infection Indication To Dye For

    An indicator dye can be incorporated into dressings to provide a visual cue for infection.An indicator dye developed by German researchers could simplify wound care while improving infection prevention.Upon detecting the presence of an infection, an indicator dye provides a visual cue in the form of a color change to healthcare workers that treatment is needed. In addition to offering a helpful prompt to personnel, the dye eliminates the need for dressing removal in order to visually inspect...
  • Piezoelectric Nanowire Invention Can Harvest Energy to Power Small Electronic Devices

    When flexed, a piezoelectric nanowire technology generates enough power to drive a liquid-crystal display. (Photo by ACS/Nano Letters)Harvesting body movements or blood flow to power medical devices is a tempting area of research because it has the potential to promote miniaturization. Contributing to the effort to develop technologies for harvesting such power, a team of scientists at the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech; Atlanta) has devised the first nanowire-based generators...
  • Biosensing Protocol Could Enhance Sensing for Point-of-Care Diagnostics

    A novel approach to biosensing is rooted in identifying changes in optical transmittance of a specialized solution.A biosensing protocol developed by Japanese researchers may provide a rapid, highly sensitive, inexpensive, and homogenous approach to quantifying biorecognition processes. The novel method could also eliminate the use of substrates or magnetic sensors in point-of-care medical diagnostics.Various biosensing applications employ magnetoresistive sensors to detect magnetic beads...
  • Molex Introduces First High-Density 12-Fiber MT Ferrule-Based Expanded-Beam MT Interconnect

    A new MT ferrule–based interconnect reduces optical loss resulting from dust contamination.Suitable for use in diagnostic equipment and data and medical video transmission applications, high-density, expanded-beam (lensed), MT ferrule–based interconnects from Molex (Lisle, IL) are designed to increase the number of mating cycles compared with standard MT ferrules. Billed by the company as an industry first, these high-density 12-fiber MT ferrule–based expanded-beam interconnects reduce optical...
  • Loading Up on PASTA Could Yield Smart Textiles for Healthcare Monitoring

    The PASTA program will research how best to integrate electronics into textiles.The nanoelectronics research group imec (Leuven, Belgium) has announced the program launch of the integrating platform for advanced smart textile applications, or PASTA. The program will focus on the development of large-area smart textiles, which could someday help to advance textile-based healthcare monitoring applications."Large-area manufacturability is an essential aspect in bridging the gap between lab...
  • Weighing the Benefits of Medtronic's Leadless Pacemaker

     Medtronic recently unveiled its leadless pacemaker, which is still in development.Medtronic unveiled its eagerly anticipated leadless pacemaker at the TEDMED conference last week and already has Cyberspace atwitter. The leadless pacemaker's debut comes just weeks after the news that Medtronic will pay $268 million to settle U.S. lawsuits related to its Sprint Fidelis defibrillator leads, which were implicated in 13 deaths and recalled in 2007 owing to their potential for fracture.Smaller...
  • NIST Presents Clash of the Microbots

    The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), in collaboration with IEEE, is inviting teams currently engaged in microrobotic, microelectronic, or microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) research to participate in the NIST Mobile Microrobotics Challenge 2011. The competition will be held as part of the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, to be held May 9–13, 2011 in Shanghai.Viewed under a microscope, microbots are operated by remote control and move in response...
  • Scalable Silicon Photomultiplier Technology Could Enhance Imaging

    Digital silicon photomultiplier technology could enable faster, more-accurate photon counting.A fully scalable digital silicon photomultiplier technology could enhance such medical applications as PET imaging and analytical instrumentation, according to its manufacturer, Royal Philips Electronics (Eindhoven, Netherlands). The company recently announced significant progress in the development of the technology in the form of scaling it from a single-pixel to fully integrated, 64-pixel sensor....
  • Implantable LED Array Gets Under the Skin

    Image of 8 x 8 balloon arrays illustrates LED technology that could function in a variety of medical applications, including monitoring devices and light-emitting sutures.A team of scientists at the University of Illinois (UI; Urbana-Champaign) is developing a flexible and implantable LED array. Collaborating with researchers from China, South Korea, and Singapore, John Rogers, UI professor of materials science and engineering, is using ultrathin sheets of inorganic LEDs and photodetectors to...
  • Scientists Make Bone in the Lab

    Nico Sommerdijk from Eindhoven University of Technology has succeeded in growing bone in his laborabory. (Photo by Bart van Overbeeke)Researchers at Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e; Netherlands) have succeeded in mimicking the process of bone formation in the laboratory and in visualizing the process in great detail, ScienceDaily reports. The results will be published in the December edition of Nature Materials.Bone consists of fibers of collagen in which calcium phosphate is deposited...
  • Innovation by Design: Taking Cues from Apple and the iPhone

    Could diabetes-management devices someday resemble or even interact with iPhones?Back in 2007, Amy Tenderich, founder of the popular blog DiabetesMine, attracted national attention when she wrote an open letter to Apple CEO Steve Jobs requesting that his innovative team try its hand at medical product design. The creative forces at Apple had managed to fuse functionality with feature-rich and attractive designs for its consumer products, Tenderich noted. Why then, she asked, can't that...
  • Miniature Solar Cell Could Reduce the Toxicity of Chemotherapy Treatment

    When one thinks of photovoltaic devices—otherwise known as solar cells—the first thoughts that come to mind are clean energy and solar panels on the roofs of buildings. But now, ScienceDaily reports that a team of scientists under assistant professor Tao Xu at the University of Texas (El Paso) has developed a miniature photovoltaic device that could eventually be used to release chemotherapy drugs directly to tumors, minimizing the drugs' toxicity to surrounding tissue.Current chemotherapy...
  • Binding Antibacterial Coatings to Devices Could Help Reduce Biofilm Formation

    In response to the reimbursement crackdown on hospital-acquired infections (HAIs) and the rise of the Superbug, an urgent need has arisen for antimicrobial or antibacterial agents that help to battle bacteria and biofilm formation. Among the latest contributions to this field is a binding technique to facilitate better attachment of antibacterial coatings to device surfaces.Noting that antibacterial materials often do not adhere well to device surfaces, a research team from the University of...
  • CI Medical's New Radiopaque Ink Helps Surgeons Track Implantable Devices

    CI Medical's radiopaque ink can be used to mark a range of temporary and permanent implantable devices.CI Medical Inc. (Norton, MA) has developed a specialized radiopaque ink printing technology for use on medical devices that enables surgeons to track or read those devices after they have been implanted in a patient's body. Under development for several years, the technology is now being used on both temporary and permanent implantable devices. Coupled with fluoroscopy, radiopaque ink gives...
  • Memory Device Withstands Gamma Sterilization of Disposables Without Data Loss

    The GammaSafe memory token can withstand up to 45 kGy of gamma radiation.Disposable device manufacturers can now incorporate anticounterfeit and limit-use functionality into gamma-sterilizable attachments without the threat of data loss. Manufactured by Datakey Electronics (Savage, MN), the GammaSafe memory device can store an encrypted product-authentication code to protect against counterfeit disposables and can be employed to limit attachment usage to ensure proper use and patient...