• Could 3-D Printing Disrupt the Eyeglasses Business?

    We have already seen 3-D printing being used for a woman's skull implant, and to make prosthetics. At least one doctor thinks a fully-functional 3-D printed heart will be possible within 10 years.Adding another accomplishment to the roster of 3-D printing's capabilities, LuxExcel has developed a process that allows complex refractive lenses such as eyeglass lenses to be produced from a 3-D printer. The Goes, Netherlands–based company uses a clear, light-curing plastic that puddles as it is...
  • How St. Jude Is Buying More Than Just a Heart Failure Device

    There is more than meets the eye when it comes to CardioMEMS and its heart failure monitoring device that St. Jude Medical recently acquired for $375 million.Submitted image of the CardioMEMS HF SystemSurgeons implant the smaller-than-a-dime device in a heart failure patient’s pulmonary artery during a minimally invasive procedure. Resulting at-home PA pressure readings from the device provide an early warning to doctors that the patient’s condition is worsening—and hopefully lead to steps...
  • As Medtech Goes Wireless, Learn How to Mitigate Security Risks

    “When it comes to wireless data communications in the medical device sphere, we always have to address an element of serious risk,” remarks Steve Abrahamson, director, product security engineering at GE Healthcare (Milwaukee). “However, there are processes that we can apply to make sure that we’re managing the risk.” This is one of the messages that Abrahamson, together with Geoffrey A. Pascoe, specialist master at Deloitte, will deliver at MD&M East in a joint presentation titled “...
  • Georgia Tech Team Uses Heparin to Improve BMP-2 Delivery

    Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology (Atlanta) have bound bone morphogenetic protein-2 (BMP-2) to heparin microparticles to achieve 1000-fold-greater concentrations of the bone regenerating growth factor than have previously been reported.The greater concentration is hoped to lead to smaller and more-targeted doses of the expensive growth factors. Additionally, the BMP-2 was also found to remain bioactive after long periods of time spent bound to the microparticles.Heparin...
  • Keeping It Sterile Using Bioburden Counts

    For information on sterility assurance levels (SALs), see "How Can You Ensure that Your Device Is Sterile?"When sterilizing medical devices, sterilization personnel rely on bioburden counts as part of determining and maintaining the sterilization process. In the following Q&A, Martell Winters, senior scientist at Nelson Laboratories (Salt Lake City), discusses less-than values in bioburden testing and explains how bioburden alert and action levels are an important part of ensuring the...
  • The Snug Vest: A Wearable Medical Device That Looks Cool

    Industrial designer Lisa Fraser has long had a passion to help kids with autism, but wasn’t sure on the specifics. Then, an idea came to her while studying design at Emily Carr University (Vancouver, BC, Canada). When observing children with autism in the classroom, she noticed some of them would use weighted vests to regulate anxiety. While deep pressure therapy is been shown to be calming for individuals who feel overwhelmed by their environment, saddling children with weights on their...
  • Medtronic Exec: Think Twice before Using Next-Gen Medical Materials

    Some experts complain about the current approach of relying on tried-and-true medical device materials. They say the materials are not optimal and are holding back the medical device industry.Jennifer MillerBut not so fast, says Jennifer Miller, senior director of materials strategy and failure analysis at Medtronic’s Cardiac Rhythm Disease Management business. Miller—who is scheduled to speak at MD&M East, running June 9 through 12 in New York—is all for materials innovation, but also sees...
  • 30 Under 30: Call for Nominations

    We want to know: Who are the most talented young medical device engineers? Specifically, we are looking for nominations for the most innovative-driven engineers and researchers from across the industry—from tiny startups to the biggest multinational firms to university research groups. In the survey below, provide your reason why your nominee is making a difference.Nominations are due by June 10, 2014. Finalists will be selected by June 13.Image modified from Flickr photo. Used under Creative...
  • How a Doctor Became an Award-Winning Device Inventor

    It’s not common to see a medical device inventor on the Shark Tank, the reality TV series that features entrepreneurs pitching to investors. But then again, it is not typical for a physician with no prior engineering experience to become an award-winning medical device inventor. Amy Baxter, MD, an Atlanta-based pediatrician who is now the CEO of MMJ Labs (Atlanta, GA) has accomplished all of this. On top of all of that, she has developed a medical device that has received attention from media...
  • How Medical Grade Fibers Are Going Micro

    Whether it’s computers, cardiovascular devices, or engineered polymers, tinier is the way to go these days. Add medical grade fibers to the list, too. Rob Torgerson, president of RxFiber, at a vineyard near his company's Windsor, CA facility. (Photo courtesy of RxFiber)Windsor, CA–based RxFiber in recent months released its lower-profile, high-tenacity polyester fibers that can be measured in the microns--selling the microfibers to undisclosed medical device companies developing...
  • Google to Glass Users: Curb Your Enthusiasm

    Numerous medical applications for Google Glass have been announced in the past year: from quickly interpreting diagnostic result to tapping into the power of Glass in the operating room, where it can be used, for instance, to share live video with remote physicians. Only recently, the UC Irvine School of Medicine announced that it is planning on becoming the first U.S. medical school to weave in Google Glass into its four-year curriculum.Whether Glass could live up to the hype, however,...
  • How 3-D Printing Can Live Up to Its Potential in Medtech

    Imagine trying to change the course of a heavy-load freight train barreling ahead in the wrong direction. That train is a metaphor for the medtech industry’s use of materials, says Michael Drues, PhD, president of Vascular Sciences (Grafton, MA; www.vascularsci.com). “Maybe we need a derailment,” Drues says.Engineered tissue scaffolds are an example of a promising medical application of 3-D printing. Photo courtesy of Regenerative Medicine 8, no. 6 (2013), 725–738.Traditionally, many medical...
  • Tiny Implants Run on Wirelessly Transmitted Power

    Poon's batteryless electrostimulator is smaller than an ordinary pill. (Courtesy Austin Yee / Stanford University)Stanford University assistant professor of electrical engineering Ada Poon, PhD, and her research team have developed a way to wirelessly transmit electromagnetic energy to implanted devices within the body.Their paper, “Wireless Power Transfer to Deep-Tissue Microimplants,” is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. In the paper's abstract the team says...
  • How the Medtech Industry Is Tackling Hospital Infections

    Healthcare-associated infections have become a serious matter that medical device designers ignore at their own peril—with a recent Harvard Medical School-led study estimating they cost the U.S. nearly $10 billion a year.Worse, the bugs are becoming increasingly difficult to treat, because there isn’t a new pipeline of antibiotics to replace the ones that have worn out. (Want to get really scared? Watch the report PBS’ Frontline had on the problem last year.)“Now we’re facing the consequences...
  • Why the Micro Still Matters for Materials

    Nanotechnology receives a great deal of attention in the medical device field, with its potential to create highly biocompatible materials, super tiny devices and genetically altered cells. But it is worth noting that plenty of advances are still taking place at the micro level. The Biomerix 3D Scaffold, as shown on the company's website, consists of an interconnected, three-dimensional, network of cells and pores.Look no further than Fremont, CA–based Biomerix Corp. and its porous...
  • 3-D Printed Lung Assists in Opposite-Lung Transplant

    In yet another 3-D printing first, doctors at Kyoto University Hospital (Kyoto, Japan) have used the technology as an assist in a ground-breaking surgery wherein a portion of the donor's right lung was implanted on the patient's left side.Interstitial pneumonia. a pulmonary inflammation of the tissue and spaces around the air sacs of the lungs, had left a woman in her 40s suffering from fibrosis of lung tissue in which the lung tissue had become scarred, stiff, and very thick. The function of...
  • Geckskin: Climb Better Than Spiderman?

    A team of scientists at the University of Massachusetts (UMass) has developed a reusable adhesive inspired by the adhesive toe pads of geckos that enable them to climb up walls. Led by Duncan J. Irschick, PhD, professor of biology, and Alfred J. Crosby, PhD, professor of polymer science and engineering, the team has published “Creating Gecko-Like Adhesives for 'Real World' Surfaces” (DR King, et al.) in the journal Advanced Materials.Irschick and Crosby say that it's not about inventing a...
  • 3-D Printing: Bridging the Gap Between Prototyping and Production

    3-D printing is on everyone’s lips. But is it ready for prime time? Are existing materials and processes ripe enough to replace such tried and true manufacturing methods as CNC machining and injection molding? While it can serve as a rapid prototyping technique, can it make the leap to full-on manufacturing? Andres Bernal, founder of Bioniko Consulting LLC (Sunny Isles, FL) will take a stab at these and other questions on Wednesday, June 11, at MD&M East in a presentation titled “Leveraging...
  • MIT's 3-D Projector Could Be Bridge to Holographic Video

    In a technological development that may have applications in medical imaging, researchers at the MIT Media Lab's Camera Culture group have built a prototype of a glasses-free 3-D TV projector that they intend to unveil at this year's SIGGRAPH (Special Interest Group on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques) show.The projector can also improve the resolution and contrast of conventional video. The researchers hope this could make it an attractive transitional technology, cheaper and more...
  • 5 Ways Watson Has Evolved Since Winning Jeopardy

    IBM’s Watson artificial intelligence platform has evolved significantly since it handily defeated human opponents on the game show Jeopardy three years ago. Shortly after winning, IBM began to retool the platform for the medical field where it can be used to improve the accuracy of clinical decision making and ultimately be integrated with medical devices.To learn more about how IBM has tailored the technology for the medical market, we spoke with Eric Brown, Director of Watson Technologies at...