• 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...
  • Despite Weathering the Economic Storm, Medtech Industry's Not in the Clear Just Yet

    Although the medtech industry has fared well during the economic downturn, it may need to reevaluate its longstanding business model, thanks to pressure stemming from new trends and sweeping reforms, according to Ernst & Young. The provider of assurance, tax, transaction, and advisory services released today its annual Pulse of the Industry report for 2010 in conjunction with the AdvaMed conference. "The medtech industry showed impressive discipline last year by improving bottom-line...
  • Carbon Nanotube Technology Provides 10x More Power than Conventional Lithium-Ion Batteries

    Portable power company Contour Energy Systems (Azusa, CA) has licensed a carbon nanotube technology from MIT (Cambridge, MA) that it claims can deliver 10 times more power than conventional lithium-ion batteries. The technology has the potential to improve numerous products, including portable medical devices.Contour will build on MIT's technology, which we reported on earlier this year, to optimize the battery electrode. The technology relies on electrostatic-driven self-assembly of carbon...
  • Molecular Fingerprinter for Trace-Gas Detection Could Improve Diagnostic Devices

    Artist's rendering of JILA's molecular fingerprinting system. A gas mixture (left) is probed by a frequency comb, a laser-based tool for identifying different colors of light. By analyzing the amounts of specific colors absorbed, the system identifies molecules and their concentrations. (Image by Baxley/JILA)Scientists at JILA (Boulder, CO), a joint institution of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST; Gaithersburg, MD) and the University of Colorado (Boulder), have...
  • Minisensor Can Detect the Signature of a Human Heartbeat

    About the size of a sugar cube, NIST's miniature magnetic sensor features an inner square cell containing rubidium gas. The diagonal bar is an electrical connection to the cell's heaters, which are powered by the red, black, and white electrical wires. The clear optical fiber extending from the middle bottom of the sensor connects to a control box. (Photo by S. Knappe/NIST)Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST; Gaithersburg, MD) and the National Metrology...
  • Live from MD&M Minneapolis: Evaluating New Stent Materials

    Will today's stent materials be in tomorrow's designs? What new materials should be explored for use in stents? These questions were raised today by Jochen Ulmer, director of sales for Euroflex GmbH, at MD&M Minneapolis in his presentation, “Requirements on Materials for Cardio Stents: Today and Tomorrow.” And while he answered these questions, he also posed a slew of new ones that give stent designers something to think about.As for today’s stent market, Ulmer notes that...
  • New RF Welding Technique Allows the Use of TPEs in Medical Fluid-Delivery Applications

    Genesis Plastics Welding (Indianapolis) has announced what it calls a radio-frequency (RF) breakthrough in conjunction with PolyOne GLS Thermoplastic Elastomers (Cleveland), enabling thermoplastic elastomers (TPEs) to replace traditional materials in medical fluid-delivery applications, including bags, tubing, and other products. The new technology from Genesis enables nonhalogenated and nonplasticized GLS Versaflex TPEs to be RF welded into any 2-D shape or configuration, including mandrels....
  • Using Laser Sintering to Improve Microimplant Integration

    Diagram of a one-step laser sintering process conducted on the surface of a stent.The Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH; Hannover, Germany) plans on using laser sintering to improve the surface of microimplants. Its goal is to produce a porous structure on the surfaces of various types of implants, including stents used in the circulatory system and devices used in in the eyes, throat, nose, or ears. A surface containing porous structures can improve the implant's attachment to the surrounding...
  • Wasted Energy May Someday Power Pacemakers and Other Implants

    An energy cell can harvest its own operational energy to power microsensors.Research and development of an innovative technology by scientists at Louisiana Tech (Ruston) doesn't appear to have been a waste of energy. The research team has designed and fabricated an energy cell that enables microscale electronic devices to harvest their own wasted energy for efficient powering of such medical products as electronic implants.Power generation by way of harvesting  natural physical vibrations...
  • New Deposition Method Could Revolutionize Paper Electronics

    Discussions about research into the use of paper substrates for such electronic applications as batteries have graced the blogosphere, including the pages of Medical Product Manufacturing News (see “A Ream of Carbon-Nanotube Ink Batteries, Please”). But developing the use of paper for hybrid electronic applications has been limited by the physical properties of paper. As reported in Nanowerk, while chemical, thermal, spin-coating, spray pyrolysis, and pulsed-laser deposition methods for forming...
  • Lead-Free Piezoelectric Material Could Serve as Replacement for PZT

    Since the EU enacted the Restriction of Hazardous Substances directive (RoHS) several years ago, which bans several substances in electronics that are deemed hazardous, lead has become a material non grata. And though lead-based piezoelectric materials are currently exempt from the ban, some experts speculate that the materials may soon suffer a similar fate. To address this issue, materials engineers at the University of Leeds (UK) have developed a lead-free ceramic that could replace lead...
  • Carbon: The Building Block of Success

    Carbon isn't just the building block of life; it's also apparently the foundation for success. This year's Nobel Prize recipients for both physics and chemistry were honored for their respective work with carbon in some form. And it's about time.News of note this week, of course, is the bestowal of the Nobel Peace Prize in Physics for 2010 to Andre Gein and Konstantin Novoselov of the University of Manchester (UK) for their "groundbreaking experiments regarding the two-dimensional material...
  • Scientists Claim Genetically Engineered Spider Silk Breakthrough

    Silkworms have been genetically modified to produce silk resembling that of spider silk. (Photo courtesy of ND Newswire)Scientists have been hard at work attempting to marshal the power of spider silk for a range of medical applications—including wound-care applications; suture materials; and muscle, bone, cartilage, tendon, and ligament repair scaffolds. It makes sense: Spider silk possesses mechanical attributes such as very high tensile strength and elasticity, making it one of the toughest...
  • New AFEs for Ultrasound Applications Improve Noise and Power Performance

    TI's AFE5807/8 devices can be used in ultrasound applications.Two new fully integrated analog front-end (AFE) devices from Texas Instruments (TI; Dallas) extend the company's ultrasound AFE family, promising to enhance noise and power performance in a small package. Featuring a continuous wave (CW) Doppler mixer for mid- to high-end spectral doppler ultrasound equipment, the AFE5807 and AFE5808 address ultrasound designers’ need for high performance and image quality with noise performance of 0...
  • Artificial Cilia Could Revolutionize Sensor Technology

    Newly engineered artificial cilia that respond to changes in heat, electromagnetic radiation, and acidity could eventually form the basis of medical device sensors used in such applications as glucose monitors. (Image by Zina Deretsky, National Science Foundation.)Scientists at the University of Southern Mississippi (Southern Miss; Hattiesburg) have developed a thin molecule-based material that resembles cilia, the tiny, wavy, hairlike structures that protrude from organs and through which...
  • Fiber-Optic Link Could Be Key to Realistic Prosthetics

    Two-way fiber-optic communication between prosthetic limbs and peripheral nerves could enable amputees to 'feel' such sensations as pressure and heat, according to researchers at Southern Methodist University (SMU; Dallas). This technology could allow for more-natural movement of prosthetics as well.Funded by DARPA, engineers at the SMU Neurophotonics Research Center are developing a two-way fiber-optic interface that would facilitate the seamless delivery of signals from the brain to a robotic...
  • Lesson Learned from the DePuy Recall: It's All Material

    Metal-on-metal implants are getting quite the bad reputation. Could a platform of easily cross-linkable diene-copolymers by DSM Biomedical offer an alternative?Let the litigation begin: This week, plaintiff litigation law firm Burg Simpson Eldredge Hersh & Jardine filed a class-action lawsuit in Ohio against DePuy Orthopaedics (Warsaw, IN) on behalf of all U.S. citizens implanted with the ASR XL acetabular head system. The lawsuit follows last month's voluntary recall of DePuy's metal-on-...
  • The Future of Stent Design

    Biodegradable polymers represent the future of stent design, according to Yaling Han, director of the department of cardiology at Shenyang Northern Hospital (China). Han's hypothesis follows her presentation of three-year data that demonstrated satisfactory clinical and safety results for a sirolimus-eluting stent featuring biodegradable polymers.Data from the three-year CREATE study were recently presented at the Transcatheter Cardiovascular Therapeutics (TCT) scientific symposium. The Chinese...