• Zika Is Spreading: What Medtech Can Do

        Zika infection during pregnancy can cause microcephaly, illustrated above, as well as other severe brain defects. (Image courtesy of CDC)Already a problem in Latin America, the mosquito-born virus could soon be spreading in the continental U.S. Find out some of the medical device solutions for fighting the disease.Chris NewmarkerMosquito-born Zika virus has turned into a pandemic across Latin America, and has already reached the continental United States via travelers....
  • Testing Both Blood and Urine for Zika

        This marketing image shows one of Altona Diagnostics' RealStar PCR kits in action. (Image courtesy of Altona Diagnostics)In May, FDA granted an emergency use authorization for the RealStar Zika virus RT-PCR kit, made by Altona Diagnostics GmbH (Hamburg, Germany). The test is meant to provide detection of RNA from Zika in serum from human blood, or urine. (The urine is collected alongside a patient-matched serum specimen.)The workings of the RealStar test, as described in the...
  • Developing a Practical and Cost Effective Zika Test

        This black cartridge includes the paper-based Zika diagnostic test. (Photo courtesy of MIT)FDA may have granted emergency use authorizations for Zika tests, but these are still tests that need to go to laboratories meeting specific qualifications. The existing tests, which search for pieces of the viral genome in serum from human blood, can also take days to week to produce lab results.What if there could be a practical and cost effective Zika diagnostic tool for widespread...
  • Detecting a Single Virus in Urine

        The researchers demonstrated their new technique on a the murine cytomegalovirus, which is related to a herpes virus, shown here. There could be potential to use the same test to find Zika. (Image courtesy of the University of Texas at Austin)Another potential research avenue involving Zika detection involves work being done at the University of Texas at Austin. The Texas researchers have come up with a test that can rapidly detect a single virus in urine. Their...
  • This New Lab Seeks to Make Better Batteries

    Is Michigan going to become the go-to place for battery innovation? Chris Newmarker(Image courtesy of University of Michigan)The University of Michigan is touting its new 2700-square-foot Battery Fabrication and Characterization User Facility, which has the goal of making lighter, safer, more cost-effective batteries for medical devices, automobiles, and more. Ford Motor Co. and the Michigan Economic Development Corp. helped the university pay for the roughly $9 million lab, which...
  • Google Spin-Off Verily May Have Overhyped Tech

    Verily allows for hits and misses, the company responds.Nancy CrottiThe glucose-reading contact lens that Verily is working on with Novartis? It’ll never work, outside sources told STAT. (Image courtesy of Verily)Big ideas sometimes fall flat. That’s apparently OK with the folks at Google’s life sciences sister company, Verily, but not so much with skeptical outside scientists.That’s the fallout from a report earlier this week on the Boston Globe’s science and health website STAT...
  • Is the Humble Fax Really Hindering Mobile Health?

    The laments of digital health entrepreneurs make one wonder why health providers aren't still using stones and chisels or papyrus scrolls, too. Arundhati ParmarAt the Digital Health Summer Summit that kicked off alongside the BIO annual conference in San Francisco on Monday, the cool factor of the sector was on display. But is it enough to be cool in healthcare?You had the morning keynote from Shafi Ahmed, the U.K surgeon who enlightened the audience about the role virtual reality can play...
  • New Plastics to Create Medical Device Innovation

    Materials innovation has been slow-growing in the medical device space. But Qmed’s sister UBM media outlet Design News has found examples of plastics that are making a difference. Qmed StaffCovestro's Makroblend M525 is meant for wearable medical devices. (Image courtesy of Covestro)The medical device industry is so heavily regulated, there is a wariness to try out new materials—with innovators turning to the same materials such as polyether and silicone over the decades. There...
  • These Might Be the Best Stretchy Circuits Yet

    The new circuitry was created with unprecedented speed and flexibility, and was designed to usher in the next generation of wearable technologies for mobile health.The new integrated circuit is stretchy, and can adhere to the skin. (Image courtesy of UW–Madison) Kristopher SturgisThe tiny technology was created to serve as a platform for manufacturers who are looking to expand the applications of wearable electronics, particularly in the realm of biomedical devices. The engineers designed...
  • Medtronic Is Saving a Tasmanian Devil's Life

    Veterinary surgeon implants Medtronic pacemaker into endangered zoo animal.Nancy CrottiPlacing the pacemaker in Nick’s belly was also a smart choice, since Tasmanian devils tend to bite one another. (Image courtesy of San Diego Zoo)A Tasmanian devil at the San Diego Zoo can get back to his devilish ways, thanks to a Medtronic pacemaker.Nick, a 6-year-old Tasmanian devil, received the second pacemaker every implanted into a member of his species, on May 11. He was returned to his enclosure last...
  • Welcome to the World of Automated DNA Origami

    U.S. researchers have created an algorithm that can build DNA nanoparticles automatically. Chris Newmarker The algorithm starts with a 3-D geometric representation of the final shape of the object, and then figures out how it can be assembled from DNA. (Image courtesy of MIT)A new algorithm could do away with the need to laboriously build complex DNA shapes by hand, according to the MIT-led research team that developed it.The algorithm, called DAEDALUS (DNA Origami Sequence Design...
  • How Micro-Location Could Boost Healthcare IoT

    New ultra-wideband wireless technology is enabling location detection within centimeters versus meters, according to a report by the website Internet of Things Institute. Qmed Staff Move over GPS. A new wireless technology called ultra-wideband could enable more Internet of Things innovation, including in the medical device space, because of its ability to determine exact location of tagged objects.The Internet of Things Institute recently reported on DecaWave (Dublin, Ireland) and...
  • Could We Get Robots to Make Babies?

    Dutch researchers say they have a proof of concept. Chris NewmarkerThe robot baby (right) has combined traits from both of its parents (left). (Image courtesy of VU Amsterdam) It might be possible someday to "breed" robots, allowing the robots themselves to select out what traits are most "attractive" in environments with unanticipated challenges.  That is the tantalizing idea presented by a research team at VU Amsterdam, who say they have demonstrated a rudimentary...
  • Guess Which States Are Best for Engineering Jobs

    OK, Massachusetts was at the top of the list. But there were also surprises in the rankings from EngineerJobs.com.Qmed StaffEngineerJobs.com recently came out with a list of the best U.S. states to find an engineering job. Massachusetts was the top state, with 3.78 engineering jobs per 1000 people, 24,772 average quarterly jobs, and annual engineering jobs growth of 16.74%. That's not a huge surprise: Massachusetts ranks high for technology and innovation, and is...
  • This Year Could Be Huge for Digital Health

    A new report about venture capital funding in digital health startups in the first quarter signals that 2016 may be a year like no other.Arundhati ParmarDigital health startups raked in $2.03 billion during the first three months of 2016, according to CB Insights, a venture capital database, which published the report late last week. The report suggests that if the pace continues, venture capitalists will have poured $8.1 billion by year end. That would be a big jump over 2015, when digital...
  • Researchers Seek to Understand Superbug Resistance

    A new study will look at patients unaffected by deadly drug-resistant superbugs and could lead to therapies to induce tolerance to the pathogens in others.Kristopher SturgisThis figure details the number of healthy, resistant, sick, and tolerantmice in a given study. A new DARPA-funded study led by the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University seeks to better understand human resistance to deadly superbug infections.The study, called Technologies for Host...
  • Can Medtronic Win the Artificial Pancreas Race?

    The company says it is close to submitting its application to FDA for the world's first hybrid, closed-loop artificial pancreas. Nancy CrottiMedtronic is poised to submit its application for what could be the world’s first hybrid, closed-loop artificial pancreas to FDA later this year.The company is on track to submit a PMA for for the MiniMed 670G with the Enlite 3 continuous glucose monitoring sensors to FDA before the end of 2016, Medtronic CEO Omar Ishrak told analysts during a Q4 2016...
  • Thermo Fisher Acquires Electron Microscopy Firm

    Oregon-based FEI's electron microscope technology complements Thermo Fisher's mass spectrometry business.Nancy CrottiThermo Fisher has been hinting of late at making another acquisition, and it just pulled the trigger.The Waltham, MA, company announced it plans to acquire electron microscope technology company FEI for $4.2 billion. FEI designs, manufactures, and supports high-performance electron microscopy workflows that provide images and information at micro-, nano- and picometer scales...
  • Theranos Founder's Net Worth Shrinks to Zero

    Once the darling of Silicon Valley, Elizabeth Holmes has become a pariah since allegations that Theranos's tests are inaccurate came to light.Jamie HartfordWhat a difference a year makes. In 2015, Theranos founder and CEO Elizabeth Holmes was hailed by Forbes as America’s richest self-made woman, topping a list that included the likes of Beyoncé and Sheryl Sandberg. Now, just 12 months later, Forbes estimates that her $4.5 billion net worth has evaporated to nothing.In a new report,...
  • New Philips Heart Attack Detector Runs on One Blood Drop

    The Dutch medical device company says the handheld medical device is for rapid point-of-care diagnosis of heart attacks.Nancy CrottiPhilips' Minicare I-20 (Image courtesy of Philips)Koninklijke  Philips has launched a handheld blood test that it says can cut the time to diagnose a heart attack from one hour to less than 10 minutes.Don't miss the MD...