• Why Medtech Reshoring Is Picking Up Steam

    A growing number of medical device companies are deciding to return production to the United States after reshoring it in years past. Here’s why.Qmed StaffIn recent decades, China was able to capture a tremendous amount of business from the United States. In essence, this was because Chinese companies were able to undercut domestic manufacturers in terms of cost. Many companies were willing to put up with logistical headaches of having products shipped halfway across the world because it made...
  • Force Sensors Are Making Medical Devices Smarter

    The practice of medicine has always been an art as well as a science. But, in the age of value-based care, the balance between those two is shifting in favor of the latter. Sensor-enabled medical devices are playing an important role in the trend.Brian BuntzThe FlexiForce sensor from Tekscan is an example of a product that can help make medical devices smarter. In healthcare in the 21st century, data is king. Number crunchers in hospitals’ procurement departments now wield considerable...
  • Cleanroom Die Cutting Can Save Money and Boost Efficiency

    Traditionally, die cutting was not a sterile process. Now it can be.Medical Presses Die cutting has been around for many years and has an esteemed reputation for reliability, repeatability, and efficiency. But what happens when you need to cut sterile parts?Traditional dies and presses can contaminate products that were previously sterile. These presses are powered through hydraulics, which can cause the press to rust. The hydraulics in the press is an additional contaminant.In the past, many...
  • The World's First Electronic Fabric?

    An international team of researchers may have come up with graphene you could wear.Kristopher SturgisExeter researchers have come up with electronic fiber. Transparent, flexible graphene electrodes can be embedded in fibers, potentially spurring a new generation of smart clothing that could put computing power on the body.Developed by an international team of researchers, the material could pave the way towards the innovation of fabrics packed with computer technology, according to a statement...
  • A Wearable That Promises to Take Away Your Pain

    A San Francisco startup hopes to give people a drug-free method to relieve pain.Brian BuntzThere are wearables that count your steps, monitor your posture, check your stress levels, and track your pulse. So why not have one to relieve chronic pain?   Shaun Rahimi, CEO of the startup Cur (San Francisco), wondered the same thing and decided to do something about it. For much of his life, he’s suffered from scoliosis and dealt with chronic pain. Then, on top of that, he had a wrist...
  • This Is How You Inexpensively 3-D Print a Trachea Segment

    Find out how New York researchers avoided spending hundreds of thousands of extra dollars on equipment.Daniel A. Grande, PhDChris NewmarkerThey 3-D printed windpipe or trachea segments that held up for four weeks in an incubator. And they did it using a MakerBot Replicator 2X experimental 3-D printer that retails for $2499.That was the achievement recently announced out of the North Shore-LIJ Health System in New York and its Feinstein Institute for Medical Research—as well as the Hofstra North...
  • The Challenges of Getting Materials Innovations into Human Bodies

    A University of Texas at Dallas researcher and his team have developed innovative flexible, shape-shifting electronics. But that is just the beginning.Walter E. VoitChris NewmarkerA University of Texas at Dallas researcher has figured out how to “program” shape-shifting thiolene/acrylates embedded with electronics to wrap around nerves as thin as 60 microns across. Imagine neurological conditions treated with minimally invasive electrodes wrapped around nerves at strategic places in the body....
  • How 3-D Printing Is Changing Cardio and Ortho Applications

    While 3-D printing is catching on, medical device manufacturers should consider it carefully before jumping in head first.Bob MichaelsMaterialise’s patient-specific cranial implant printed using porous titanium.Several speakers will take the podium at MD&M East to offer their insights into 3-D printing. Among them will be Colleen Wivell, biomedical engineering manager at Materialise (Plymouth, MI), a provider of 3-D printing software and services. On June 11, Wivell will join a panel of...
  • When Is Bluetooth LE Useful in Medical Devices?

    Bluetooth’s latest iteration Bluetooth Low Energy is providing plenty of opportunity for medical device designers, but the technology also has its downsides. Chris NewmarkerBluetooth LE (which stands for "low energy") is a popular protocol for medical device communications and for good reason: In addition to its low energy consumption implied in its name, it is also relatively inexpensive and offers connectivity with most smartphones.“If you take a look at the medical device and drug delivery...
  • 4 IoT Trends Medtech Firms Should Watch

    2015 may go down as the year that the Internet of Things went big.Joanna RotterThe Internet of Things (IoT) seems to be on everyone’s lips these days.Only today, Samsung debuted a new push into the arena with an array of technologies that could make it easier to integrate computing horsepower into everything from fitness trackers to light bulbs.Verizon's $4.4 billion acquisition of AOL could also play a role in making the Internet of Things widespread.And then last week, Bosch unveiled its own...
  • Desktop 3-D Printer Takes on Infections and Cancer

    Researchers at Louisiana Tech are using an inexpensive 3-D printer to make novel medical implants.Brian BuntzLouisiana Tech doctoral student Jeffery Weisman uses a MakerBot 3-D printer to create antibacterial beads.The MakerBot line of 3-D printers are slick. The printers have won a slew of awards including a variety of CES prizes. A MakerBot was named one of the best inventions of 2012 by Time magazine, the overall winner in the 3-D printing category and product of the year in Popular...
  • Next Up for 3-D Printing: Biocompatible Nanotechnology

    Developing customized materials and processes is key to extending 3-D printing to the manufacture of biocompatible nanotechnologies. Bob MichaelsExamples of 3-D printed drug-delivery devices.Medical device manufacturers have their sights on 3-D printing in order to fabricate components, medical instruments, and such devices as orthopedic implantables. However, to create implantable devices, manufacturers must have access to a range of biocompatible materials. David Mills, professor of...
  • Why Molding Is Coming Back Home

    Reshoring of injection molding tooling is helping U.S. firms address manufacturing headaches.Brian BuntzReshoring isn’t just a buzzword. In recent years, there has been a big upswing of industrial production marching back to the United States from low-cost destinations such as Asia and Mexico.And few companies have had such an opportunity to witness the reshoring as C&J Industries (Meadville, PA), an injection molder founded in 1962. In a four year time frame, more than 135 molds were...
  • Super-Rugged RFID Can Survive All Forms of Sterilization

    The ultra high frequency (UHF) radio frequency TegoChip can easily stand up to gamma, eBeam, autoclave, and ethylene oxide sterilization without performance degradation.Brian BuntzIt turns out that an RF technology originally developed for the aerospace industry is incredibly rugged. Developed by Tego Inc. (Waltham, MA), the technology can survive radiation doses as high as 1000 kilogray (100,000,000 rad). Radiation doses in the range of 2 to 10 gray can be fatal for humans. At the epicenter of...
  • 7 Ways You Can Be Sure Your Supplier Is a Good Match

    In these days of budgetary cutbacks, establishing mutually beneficial, ongoing relationships with suppliers has never been more crucial to the ongoing success of OEMs. Here are seven supplier traits that indicate you’re going to have a good match.Tara McCutchen, Zeus Inc. As a medical device manufacturer, you’re expected to deliver high-performing, cost-saving devices. However, OEMs are feeling the need—and seeing the benefit—of looking to their suppliers to function as an extension of...
  • How to Create a Custom Motor in 11 Days

    Maxon Motor has created a program designed to speed the assembly of bespoke motors.Brian BuntzSeveral years ago, engineers at Maxon Motor (Fall River, MA) noticed that the majority of their customers across industries were specifying custom motors. But, in the past, the problem with custom motors is that they had been slow to make. “Normally, you had to wait four to six weeks—sometimes longer—to get a customized product,” says Debora Setters, national marketing manager for the company.About two...
  • Teenage Inventor Is Making a Novel Spinal Implant

    Harry Paul, a freshman at Tufts University who has developed a scoliosis device, had some words of wisdom for medical device developers at BIOMEDevice Boston.Brian BuntzHarry Paul shows off one of the many prototypes for his device at BIOMEDevice Boston.Harry Paul spent three years in high school working on a spinal implant, eventually partnering with the K2M Group (Leesburg, VA) to refine its design and file a patent for it.Born with a congenital form of scoliosis, Paul underwent 16 spinal...
  • Why There Are Some Exciting Possibilities for Metallic Glass

    Researchers are exploring the potential of metallic glass as a versatile, pliable material that’s stronger than steel, with a bevy of possible applications. Kristopher SturgisMetallic glass nanorods (Image courtesy of Yale University)Yale University engineers have discovered a unique method for designing metallic glass nanostructures across a wide range of chemicals, a technique that could have applications for everything from watch parts to phone casings to implantable medical devices.Metallic...
  • This Is How You Turn Your Smartphone Into a Microscope

    Researchers create an optical lens that can be attached to virtually any smartphone to amplify images by a magnitude of 120, for just 3 cents a lens. Kristopher SturgisThe microscope lens, shown here attached to a smartphone, would only cost 3 cents to produce in bulk. (Image courtesy of the University of Houston)These days, turning smartphones into useful alternative devices is far from a novel idea,. From collecting and measuring DNA samples, to measuring cell counts and possibly detecting...
  • Inside the Design of a Vein-Imaging System

    Get an inside scoop on the design process from a Enercon Technologies vice president.Brian Buntz and Chris NewmarkerEnercon Technologies (Gray, ME) helped design a vein-imaging system that enables clinicians to clearly see peripheral veins.The system from VueTek Scientific (Gray, ME) is designed to reduce IV needles stick attempts, referrals to central lines, complications, and costs.Qmed/MPMN editor-in-chief Brian Buntz caught up this week with Larry Bell, Enercon Technologies’ ‎vice president...