• Researchers Trigger Tooth Repair with Low-Power Laser

    Yesterday we wrote about a pair of King's College London researcher/dentists who have developed a technique to repair tooth decay using electric currents.Today we report on a group of researchers at Harvard's Wyss Institute who are working on another way of repairing teeth, this one involving low-powered lasers. The research, which was led by Wyss Institute Core Faculty member David Mooney, PhD, and published in Science Translational Medicine by lead author Praveen Arany, DDS, PhD, lays the...
  • DARPA Seeks to Develop Therapeutic Electric Brain Implants

    The National Institutes of Health (NIH) says, “The Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative is ... aimed at revolutionizing our understanding of the human brain.”Implantable DARPA micro-electrodes can measure brain activity.As part of the BRAIN Initiative, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has awarded contracts to Massachusetts General Hospital (MassGen) and the University of California, San Francisco, (UCSF) to create electrical brain...
  • Customizable Adhesive Technology Fixates on Mobile Medical Devices

    Joe DavinAs the market for mobile, wearable, and patient monitoring devices continues to expand, companies looking to play in these spaces tend to focus on such important aspects as industrial design, ruggedness, algorithms, and miniaturization. But adhesives—critical components of many of these mobile medical devices—often get overlooked until failure or subpar solutions becomes evident, according to Joseph Davin, group president at Scapa Healthcare (Windsor, CT).“All of a sudden, we're...
  • Father Develops Bionic Pancreas for Diabetic Son; Results in NEJM

    It's a good thing that David Damiano's dad is Edward R. Damiano, PhD, an associate professor of biomedical engineering at Boston University.When David, now 15, was 11 months old, he was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. Faced with the necessity of managing his son's condition, Damiano senior shifted the focus of his research and began to work on a better way to regulate blood sugar. Fast forward some 14 years, and Damiano's 'bionic pancreas' has been tested on 52 teenagers and adults and has done...
  • Smartphones Could Help Fuel Personal Genomics Revolution

    Editor's note: More information on this topic is available from our sister publication EETimes.After claiming in January that it brought the cost of sequencing a human genome to $1000, Illumina Inc. has set its sights on a consumer product. The company aims to deliver a chip that plugs into a smartphone, bringing genetic medicine to the individual.The smartphone will become "a molecular stethoscope," said Mostafa Ronaghi, Illumina's chief technology officer, speaking at the Imec Tech Forum in...
  • Samsung Joins Medical Wearables Revolution

    (Editor's note: This is a condensed version of an article originally published in our sister magazine, EE Times. The full-length version is available here.)President and CSO of Samsung Electronics Young Sohn is building a platform for devices and apps that let consumers manage their fitness and ultimately, he hopes, their healthcare.Many others are trying to create this revolution, but few are as high profile as Sohn, the chief strategy officer of Samsung Electronics.At a developer conference...
  • Puzzling Out the Secrets of Lithium Batteries

    Seeking to discover why one variety of lithium ion battery shows such unexpectedly high power and long cycle life, a team of researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT; Cambridge, MA) has employed transmission electron microscopy (TEM) to resolve a longstanding puzzle.The team, led by Ju Li, PhD, and Yet-Ming Chiang, ScD, studied the electrodes of lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) batteries. One of several types of lithium ion batteries, lithium iron phosphate is considered an...
  • 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,...
  • 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 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...