• How 6 Medical Materials Fare in 3-D Printing

    Severine ZygmontMaterials have been a major hurdle when it comes to 3-D printing customized implantable medical devices. But Oxford Performance Materials (South Windsor, CT) has seen some success when it comes to using polyetherketoneketone (PEKK) for patient-specific cranial devices and facial devices.Oxford spent five years honing down its manufacturing process with EOS-made sintering machines so that it could 3-D print PEKK structures layer by layer while still retaining up to 90% of...
  • A Tattoo That Does Away with Finger Pricking for Diabetics

    As any diabetic knows, pricking your finger repeatedly for a blood-glucose test is not exactly a fun ordeal. Thankfully, researchers are working on an alternative method that will be completely painless and needle-free, a rub-on temporary tattoo.The ultrathin, flexible device was created by Joseph Wang and his colleagues at the University of California, San Diego in an effort to develop a sensor that could effectively measure glucose levels with the same efficiency as finger-pricking, according...
  • 5 Things Medtech Leaders Need to Know About Lean Manufacturing

    Darren DolcemascoloBy Darren Dolcemascolo, EMS Consulting Group For more than 20 years, companies in nearly every industry, including many in the medical device field, have adopted Lean Manufacturing practices with varying degrees of success. Here are five key lessons that medical device designers should apply:1. Lean Manufacturing is not only for manufacturing.It turns out that any enterprise can apply the lean philosophy. Lean is a continuous improvement philosophy by which we...
  • Who Is to Blame When DIY Medical Devices Fail?

     The developers of the Nightscout, an open-source remote-monitoring system, are working with the FDA on the presubmission process to officially clear it for market approval. The do-it-yourself (DIY) movement has never been more popular in the medtech industry than in recent years, as the needs of consumers continues to become more and more specialized. But does such a decision come at any cost to those simply seeking to improve their devices?Just last month, Wired ran a story on one of...
  • DIY Device Helps an Injured NBA Player Return to the Court

     After being drafted out of high school, Jonathan Bender seemed poised for stardom in basketball. Playing for the Indiana Pacers in his first NBA game in 1999, he scored 10 points in 13 minutes, becoming the first player drafted from high school to score double figures in an NBA debut. In the next couple of years, however, his left knee began to give him trouble, and he later had arthroscopic surgery to address the problem. The procedure only made things worse, and he was forced to retire...
  • Novel Implant Helps Paralyzed Rats Walk

    Paralyzed rats can walk on their thanks to a combination of electrical and chemical stimulation, thanks to research performed in Switzerland.Professors from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, known as EPFL, designed a specific implant that can be placed on the surface of the brain or spinal cord that can closely imitate the mechanical properties of living tissue. The e-Dura implant, as it’s known, can simultaneously deliver electrical impulses and pharmacological substances, while...
  • Why Household Robots Might Matter for Medtech

    Lawson Wong and his mentors at MIT haven’t made plans to apply their robotics research advances to medical technology, but Wong can see where it might work. Image courtesy of Christine Daniloff and Jose-Luis Olivares/MITThe researchers at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory are working on making household robots better able to identify and manipulate objects in the home—the sort of thing that can help people with visual impairments.The team used an off-the-shelf...
  • The Quantum Computing Advances You Need to Know

    From topological quantum computing, to designing optical chips that enable photons to perform quantum computations, researchers continue to take significant steps toward designing a machine that is fully powered by quantum physics.The applications of quantum computing machines are thought to be vast and largely unexplored, but the impact on the medtech industry could be profound.Most researchers understand that a machine powered by quantum physics will be able to solve problems, execute...
  • Silicon Structures That Form Like in Children's Pop-Up Books

    Resembling razor wire, these 3-D microstructures of silicon can 'pop up' from flat geometries, like children's books.John Rogers was evidently not content with making electronics bendable, enabling them to potentially be used for actively conformable to the human body. The University of Illinois, who went on to found flexible electronics firm MC10 (Cambridge, MA) has a new trick up his sleeve: converting tiny 2-D silicon structures into 3-D.The mechanism used to do that bears a resemblance to...
  • Comparing California to Other Medtech Hubs

    California may have a high cost-of-doing business—including high taxes—but such costs also help pay for a great quality of life and educated workforce. And don't even start on the access to venture capital.When we asked our audience if the high costs of doing business was worth it for medical device firms. The answer? A resounding 'maybe,' as the bar graph below shows: How the Top Medtech States Stack Up California COSTS11.4%State-Local Tax Burden as % State Income8.84%State...
  • How Squeezing Cells Could Lead to New Cancer Treatments

    Photo of a cell approaching constriction in a microfluidic channel, where it becomes permeable.A new microfluidic device developed by SQZ Biotech can deliver microscopic material into cells quickly and effectively by vigorously squeezing the cells, which temporarily make the membranes permeable, according to a story from MIT Technology Review. The device could pave the way for cancer treatment breakthroughs, as it could deliver drugs into cells that normally reject foreign materials.Despite the...
  • How a Chip That Thinks Like a Primate Can Help People See Better

    A computer network can accurately mimic primates’ visual skills such as recognizing objects, according to researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).Until now, no computer model has been able to match the primate brain at visual object recognition during a brief glance, according to a news release from the university. Recently, however, scientists have come to a much better understanding of how object recognition works within the brain, says James DiCarlo, a professor of...
  • Challenges Facing Medical Packaging in 2015

    Maintaining high standards amid cost pressures and the need for sterile barrier system makers to become involved early in the development process are among the emerging challenges facing the medical packaging industry in coming years, David Harding, director general of the United Kingdom–based Sterile Barrier Association, writes in European Medical Device Technology."A common and understandable approach is to seek lower-cost alternative products. In the case of sterile barriers, however, it is...
  • A Remarkably Thin Material for Medical Imaging

    A material that is hailed as the “thinnest-ever imaging platform” by Rice University (Houston, TX) could be integrated with electronics to create tiny imaging devices to monitor medical conditions in real-time.The platform is based on an atomically thin layer of copper indium selenide (CIS) that is extremely sensitive to light—the new material is thought to be 10 times more efficient than the best alternative material currently available. The material also has the benefit of having a broad...
  • What You Need to Know About the DuPont Tyvek Transition

    In 2011, DuPont announced its intention to transition Tyvek 1073B and 1059B medical-grade materials to the company's latest flash-spinning technology with the stated objective of ensuring greater continuity and flexibility of future supply."Although this is being managed and dealt with very comprehensively by DuPont, there will still be an element of validation work necessary at each packaging manufacturer and medical device manufacturer," according to Tony Paolino, president of SteriPack USA,...
  • 3-D Printed Electronics: It's Now Real

    Princeton University researchers have succeeded in embedding LEDs on a plastic contact lens, opening the door to the use of 3-D printing to produce a range of electronic components, including semiconductors.Although the lure of using 3-D printing technology to create electronic components is great, the challenges are perhaps greater. Nevertheless, when asking the question earlier this year what’s next for 3-D printing, our answer was: printable electronics.Now, researchers at Princeton...
  • Detecting DNA on Your Smartphone

    Not content with developing a lens-free microscope that can detect cancer, researchers at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) are working to convert an ordinary smartphone into a fluorescent microscope so powerful it can measure the size of DNA molecules.Fluorescent microscopes work by labeling samples with fluorescent molecules that are activated with a laser. This process gives off different colored light that the microscope can detect and use to build an image of fluorescent-...
  • Need Info on Surgical Medical Device Materials? Try This.

    A page from the ASM International/Granta Design database on surgical medical device materials shows stress/strain graphs of titanium alloys.ASM International and Granta Design have developed a surgical module in the ASM Medical Materials Database. Focusing on materials used in surgical devices, the module combines engineering material properties and biomedical response data with surgical application information.The data include descriptions of surgical devices and the materials from which they...
  • A Lens-free Microscope That Could Detect Cancer

    These days, most cell-level abnormalities such as a cancer and other malignant tumors often require costly high powered optical microscopes to diagnose. That may change, however, as researchers from UCLA are developing a lens-free microscope that can be used to detect these malignant abnormalities with the same accuracy as their larger, more expensive counterparts.The lens-free microscope is one of the latest developments in a series of computational imaging and diagnostic devices developed at...
  • Mind-Controlled Arm Boasts Fine Precision

    This robotic arm used at the University of Pittsburgh offers ten dimensional control of hand movements. Jan Scheuermann, a patient with longstanding quadriplegia, has managed to control a robotic arm with a range of complex human hand movements using a brain–machine interface, according to a story from the Institute of Physics. The maneuverability of the mind-controlled robotic arm has recently increased from seven dimensions to ten (which includes 3-D translation, 3-D orientation, and 4-D hand...