• Carbon Foam Scaffold Design Results in Better, Lighter Batteries

    Device designers are constantly searching for ways to create batteries that weigh and cost less, while also lasting longer and being more environmentally friendly. Combining two energy storage devices using novel battery materials, Michigan Tech (Houghton, MI) researchers believe they have achieved a lighter, cheaper, better way to power devices through an asymmetric capacitor with an improved design.Both batteries and capacitors have different advantages in energy storage. While capacitors are...
  • Synapse Communication Brain Functions Mimicked in MIT Computer Chip

    For many engineers, plasticity is a term referring to a material’s deformation under load, but when talking about the brain, plasticity refers to how brain structures change from experience. The plasticity phenomenon is believed to affect functions including memory and learning, and researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT; Cambridge, MA) are moving one step closer to creating a computer system replicating aspects of the human brain by developing a new computer chip that models...
  • New Method of Detecting Lung Cancer Relies on Gold Nanoparticles

    Gold nanoparticles are at it again in the world of cancer research and development. Developed at the University of Colorado Cancer Center (CU; Aurora and Denver) and Technion University (Haifa, Israel), a cancer-detecting device uses gold nanoparticles to trap and define the molecules that make up cancer patients’ exhaled breath. By comparing these molecular signatures with control groups, the device can tell not only whether a lung is cancerous but also whether the cancer is of the small- or...
  • Mitigating Risk in Software-Controlled Medical Devices

    MPMN recently spoke with Kevin Fu, software expert and associate professor of computer science at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, about the current risks associated with medical device software and how to mitigate them, as well as grumpy stakeholders and implant hacking. Fu focuses his research on improving the security and privacy of embedded systems, especially in medical implants.MPMN: Medical device software has been put under the microscope during the past year, thanks to the...
  • Technology Combining Carbon Nanotubes and DNA Could Lead to New Biosensors

    Scientists at Purdue University (West Lafayette, IN) have developed a method for stacking synthetic DNA and carbon nanotubes onto a biosensor electrode. While the technology could further research into diabetes and other diseases by enabling more-accurate measurements, it may also eventually be used to develop sensors that could be used in personalized medicine for testing the effectiveness of drugs on patients.Standard sensors employ metal electrodes coated with enzymes that react with...
  • Metamaterials Made by Etching Process Could Create Unique Lenses

    DNA, viruses, proteins, and other objects smaller than the wavelength of visible light could soon be viewed with a special lens created from metal gyroid metamaterials. Researchers from Cornell University (Ithaca, NY) have found a way to use self-assembling block copolymers to make 3D structures with special light bending capabilities.Previously, metamaterials have only been created in single layers using atomic sputtering or electron-beam lithography methods, but by using an etching process...
  • Weekly Vitals: Congressional Delegates Suggest Changes to FDA, TCT Turns Eyes on Industry, and More

    Led by Minnesota senator Amy Klobuchar, 41 members of Congress signed a letter to FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg this week imploring the agency to expedite medical device approval times for the good of the industry, workers, and patients alike. "We share your commitment to ensuring safe and effective medical devices are available to patients. However, we are very concerned about recent declines in FDA performance. Increased review times, inconsistent expectations, and poor communication from...
  • Tear Glucose Technology Could Replace Blood Glucose Monitoring for Diabetes

    Making the news rounds is a story focusing on researchers at the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor) that are developing a method for monitoring glucose levels using tears, not blood. This research should be welcome news for diabetics, who eventually may no longer have to prick their fingers to test their blood glucose levels.Headed by Mark Meyerhoff, a professor of chemistry at the University of Michigan, the scientists have conducted successful laboratory testing of an electrochemical sensor...
  • This Week’s Most Popular Headlines

    Cardiovascular news topped the Qmed charts this week, with an announcement from Edwards Lifesciences that the company has received FDA approval for the first catheter-based aortic heart valve in the United States. Also, FDA approved the first artificial aortic heart valve procedure without open-heart surgery. And in a move that literally gives eyesight to the blind, Second Sight Medical Products Inc. announced that the first-ever commercial implantation of a retinal prosthesis was successfully...
  • Sensor-Based Health and Wellness Devices Primed for Growth

    On the heels of wireless patient monitors being crowned the fastest-growing medical devices, Rock Health (San Francisco), a seed accelerator for digital health startups, has released a report on medical and wellness sensors that predicts that the sensor market will be valued at $4 billion by 2014 and will consist of 400 million devices. Despite numerous barriers for emerging sensor-based health and wellness products, opportunities abound for innovative monitoring and sensing technologies,...
  • Study of Mechanical Forces Could Lead to New Wound-Care Technologies

    A new study from researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech; Atlanta) demonstrating that mechanical forces affect the growth and remodeling of blood vessels during tissue regeneration and wound healing could lead to future-generation wound-care and implant technologies. The study shows that the forces diminish or enhance the vascularization process and tissue regeneration depending on when they are applied during the healing process.Microcomputed tomography reconstructions...
  • Magnetic Particle-Transport Microchip Could Be Suitable for Diagnostic Applications

    Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST; Gaithersburg, MD) and the University of Colorado Boulder (CU) have developed a low-power microchip that uses a combination of microfluidics and magnetic switches to trap and transport magnetic beads. Incorporating magnetic switches such as those used in computer random access memory, the chip traps, releases, and transports magnetic beads that potentially could be used as transport vehicles for biomolecules such as DNA....
  • Weekly Vitals: VC Funding in Medtech Drops, Drugs Quicker to Market in U.S. than Europe, and More

    As venture capitalists (VCs) become increasingly vocal about their displeasure with FDA, their waning faith in the medical device industry is beginning to have an impact where it counts: funding. A report published by PricewaterhouseCoopers and the National Venture Capital Association revealed that third-quarter funding in 2011 for the life sciences sector dropped 18% quarter over quarter. This past quarter saw the lowest number of deals since Q1 of 2009, according to the report. In other news...
  • Cotton Transistors Lead the Way to Wearable Electronic Devices

    This electrochemical transistor was made from cotton with nanoparticle-based coatings. Credit: Cornell UniversityA growing trend in portable diagnostic devices allows for sensing and reporting of glucose levels, heart rate, or blood pressure, but advances made in creating transistors from cotton may lead to the creation of clothing acting as medical devices. A collaborative effort between scientists and engineers from Cornell University (Ithaca, NY), Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Mines de...
  • This Week’s Most Popular Headlines

    Dominating readers’ attention this week has been MPMN’s feature highlighting five groundbreaking medical device technologies worth watching, including Medtronic’s leadless pacemaker, an Alzheimer’s patch from Clarimedix Inc., an all-in-one catheter developed by researchers from Northwestern University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Abbott Laboratories' Absorb bioresorbable stent, and a noninvasive glucose monitor produced by researchers at the University of Missouri-St....
  • Design Flaw Poses Potential Threat to Shrinking Drug-Eluting Stents

    In the quest for increasingly thinner, smaller, and more-flexible stents, medical device designers may have compromised structural integrity in some current-generation drug-eluting stents (DES). And as the problem of longitudinal compression reaches buzz-worthy status, the design flaw could soon prove to be a distinct market disadvantage.Published online last month in the medical journal EuroIntervention, a case series conducted by two UK physicians brought the issue of longitudinal compression...
  • Wireless Patient Monitors Crowned Fastest-Growing Medical Device

    Wireless patient monitors are the fastest-growing medical devices based on revenue earned, according to "Remote and Wireless Patient Monitoring Markets," a recent report from market research firm Kalorama Information. Beating out such high-growth areas as minimally invasive surgical devices, specialty catheters, and defibrillators, wireless patient monitors have seen revenues doubled in the past four years and are forecasted to double again in the next four years as well.Driven by an aging...
  • Bacterial Communication Could Provide Key to Developing Nanoscale Medical Devices

    Over the next four years, researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech; Atlanta) will be studying how bacteria communicate with one another on a molecular level. The scientists' goal is to determine whether the principles of bacterial communication can be applied to how nanodevices will one day communicate to form nanoscale networks.Headed by Ian Akyildiz, Georgia Tech professor of electrical and computer engineering, the research team hopes to pave the way for intelligent,...
  • Hexagonal Copper Crystal Films Grow Highest-Quality Graphene Sheets

    Graphene, a sheet of carbon just a single atom thick, has much potential in the future of electronics, but producing high-quality sheets for high- performance applications has been a challenge. Researchers at University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign, IL) have discovered that the quality of graphene grown depends not on the surface finish, but on the crystal structure of the copper substrate on which it is grown.Copper has been a popular substrate for graphene growth because it is inexpensive...
  • Weekly Vitals: VCs and Medtech Companies Get Political, Erik Paulsen Wins Industry's Vote, and More

    As we head into an election year, venture capitalists (VCs) and the medical device industry are ramping up their political efforts and, in turn, opening up their wallets for candidates that support their interests, notably Congressman Erik Paulsen of Minnesota. And to no one's surprise, item number one on medtech insiders' political agenda is streamlining FDA's medical device clearance process. "As Congress considers reauthorizing a law that sets the fees for medical device makers, venture...