• What a 30-Year Industry Veteran Has Learned about Medtech

    Robert Roche over the past 30 years has witnessed firsthand the consolidation of the medtech industry and a host of advances ranging from new materials to component miniaturization.Qmed StaffBob Roche is the chief operating officer and director at Wytech.Recently hired as chief operating officer at fine wire and tubing maker Wytech Industries (Rahway, NJ), Robert Roche has held a range of medtech industry management positions since 1984—just a year before MPMN was started.The former chief...
  • How Hula Hoop-Sized Seals Make Imaging Systems More Reliable

    A custom engineering company expands its line of spring-energized seals to include large diameter options for medical imaging systems.Kristopher SturgisBal-Seal offers seals for slow-speed rotary and reciprocating medical applications including MRI/CT scanners and for the doors/enclosures to autoclaves and sterilization equipment. Bal Seal Engineering Inc. has decided to expand its line of spring-energized seals to include large diameter (make that huge diameter, judging by the above image),...
  • How to Fly a Plane with Only Your Thoughts

    University of Pittsburgh researchers combined a computer-brain interface with a flight simulator, with pretty amazing results.Nancy CrottiJan Scheuermann, who has quadriplegia, brings a chocolate bar to her mouth using a robot arm she is guiding with her thoughts. (Photo courtesy of University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine)For Jan Sheuermann, the sky’s the limit, according to a story on Wired.First approached by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the University of...
  • Edwards Leading in Medtech Innovation Poll

    Is Edwards Lifesciences (Irvine, CA) the most innovative medical device company out there? Many of our readers seem to think so, based on a recent poll. Medtronic, however, is on Edwards' heels. Rounding out the top five are St. Jude, Masimo, and Intuitive Surgical.In retrospect, the way that the poll was designed seems to favor big medtech companies over startups, which play a vital role in the device industry's healthcare ecosystem. But it is interesting nonetheless to get a sense of which...
  • Apple Execs Think They Can Improve Your Medical Research

    Meet ResearchKit—a framework to design apps to find medical study participants and collect information from them.Chris NewmarkerApple’s senior vice president of operations Jeff Williams on Monday showed off partners already lined up for ResearchKit apps. Apple Watch may have scaled back health tracking features from what was previously expected. But there is one area related to medtech where Apple expects to make a difference faster: medical research.Apple’s live product...
  • How to Make the Electronics That Make Wearables Fit

    Researchers explore using a new pliable multiferroic film that maintains its electric and magnetic properties, paving the way for innovative wearable technologies. Kristopher SturgisWearable technology continues to capture center stage at technology expos and conferences across the world, with the medtech industry catching the craze as well. Electronic devices are shrinking in size to increase portability, but many struggle to make them adaptable as a wearable beyond some sort of fancy clip, or...
  • How to Exploit 3-D Printing for Improved Cancer Treatment

    3-D printing could be used to fine-tune the delivery of medicine according to the needs of patients undergoing interventional radiology procedures.Kristopher Sturgis3-D printing could play an active role in crafting devices such as catheters, stents, and filaments to the exact size and shape of the patient in need. In a study from the Society of Interventional Radiology (SIR), researchers printed bioactive devices that can deliver antibiotics and chemotherapeutic medications to targeted areas...
  • The Latest Contract Manufacturer on the Block

    Making its debut at MD&M West, EG GILERO’s medtech roots stretch back decades.Brian BuntzEG GILERO assisted in the development of this drug-delivery device, which cut the steps needed to deploy a lipolyzed drug from five to three. Newcomer EG GILERO is no stranger to the medical business. The company was blended from the merging of GILERO Biomedical, Medacys, InField Medical, as well as the medical businesses of eNNOVEA and ValTech Holdings.Headquartered in Durham, NC, the company has U.S....
  • A Practical Tubing Materials Alternative to PVC

    Styrolution touts its diverse styrenics product portfolio as alternates to products commonly used in the medical device market, such as PVC. Chris NewmarkerMicrospec has partnered with Styrolution to use styrenics to replace PVC for its highly flexible multi-lumen tubing. (Image courtesy of Styrolution)Add styrenics to the list of medical device tubing materials being touted as alternatives to PVC and other commonly used products in the space.Styrolution’s Styroflex is...
  • TPEs' New Edge in Medtech: Supporting Blood Contact

    Thermoplastic elastomers (TPEs) are regarded as workhorse materials with an ever-widening scope of applications in the medical device industry. Brian BuntzTPE can be used for a range of medical device applications and is frequently used to make syringes.TPEs are now suitable for use in applications requiring direct blood contact for a limited amount of time. One company offering such a grade is Kraiburg TPE, a German-headquartered firm with U.S. operations based in Duluth, GA. “There are...
  • The Deadly Superbug Outbreak: What It Means for You

    Olympus' TJF-Q180V duodenoscope, as shown on the company's websiteA lawsuit has already been filed against Olympus Corp. over its duodenoscopes, and FDA is facing pressure to do more.Chris NewmarkerMedical device companies may want to pay even more attention to how easy it is to clean their reusable devices—not to mention the instructions they are issuing for cleaning—after a type of endoscope used in half a million U.S. procedures a year was linked to a dangerous “superbug” outbreak...
  • Why You Should Care About Market Research

    Many medical device companies are putting the cart before the horse when it comes to product development.Brian BuntzMany medical device companies have a flawed product development strategy. They develop a product that their engineers personally like, get regulatory approval for it, and then get it on the market as quickly as they can.Medical device professionals should embrace market research early in the product development process, says Jonathan Honiball, senior director, customer research at...
  • Magnetic Nanoparticles Loaded with Drugs Destroy Blood Clots

    Magnetic nanoparticles equipped with drugs could destroy blood clots 100 to 1000 times faster than traditional clot-busting technologies. Kristopher SturgisNanoparticle swathed in albumin and the anti-clotting agent tPA. When it comes to tracking and breaking up blood clots, time is of the essence. Researchers from Houston Methodist hope to address this issue with a new technique that infuses magnetic nanoparticles with drugs that are biochemically camouflaged, in an effort to find and destroy...
  • How to Free Yourself from a Quality System Nightmare

    Software designed specifically for medical device professionals could provide an efficient alternative to clunky paper-based and computerized quality management systems.Brian BuntzMore than half of medical device companies still use paper-based quality systems, according to Jon Speer, cofounder and VP of QA/RA of a startup named greenlight.guru (Indianapolis, IN). And such paper-based systems are often fiendishly hard to use, inefficient, and inaccurate. Many are reminiscent of public libraries...
  • A Practical Lesson from HeartWare's Latest Heart Pump Recall

    What about medical devices used in clinical trials? It is a question that is apparently dogging HeartWare.Chris NewmarkerHeartWare's driveline cable, shown in this illustration from a company video, connects the implanted pump with an externally worn controller. HeartWare International recently announced that it was recalling older controllers used during 2012 clinical trials of its implantable heart pumps.The older controllers, used by about 120 U.S. patients, exhibit a higher...
  • How Tiny Artificial Muscles Could Be Huge Energy Savers

    Electroactive polymer technology could help engineers make lighter longer-lasting medical devices.Brian BuntzParker's EAP technology on display at MD&M West.Imagine a technology that could reduce the amount of energy used to power medical device applications by 25 to 100 times. An electroactive polymer (EAP) from Parker Hannifin’s BioCare business unit could do just that, says BioCare’s business unit manager, Mario Calvo. The technology, which was on display at MD&M West, is a good fit...
  • Has the Age of the Robots Arrived?

    A new report notes that robots cost less and are able to do more—and that their use in manufacturing will quickly grow. Chris NewmarkerThe growing importance of robots in device manufacturing was evident at MD&M West in Anaheim, CA, this month.Robots presently perform only 10% of manufacturing tasks, but that is expected to rise to 25% by 2025 as robots become more affordable and able to perform more tasks, according to a recent prediction from the Boston Consulting Group....
  • FDA Warming Up to DNA Tests for the Masses

    FDA appears to be offering a path forward for companies such as 23andMe that want to market medical-related genetic tests directly to the mass public.Nancy Crotti 23andMe's unique DNA genotyping chips, as shown in a company video.The standoff between 23andMe and FDA is showing signs of easing, with the agency clearing the Mountain View, CA–based genetic testing company to market a test for a rare disorder that causes short stature, sun-sensitive skin changes, and an increased risk of...
  • Superbug Deaths Stoke Reprocessing Fears

    Reprocessed medical devices are already a controversial subject in medical device circles. A recent deadly “superbug” at UCLA may have just made them even more worrisome.Chris Newmarker and Brian BuntzUpdated February 25, 2015A close-up view of an ERCP endoscope tip. (Image courtesy of FDA)Reprocessed medical devices of all stripes could receive more scrutiny than ever in the United States, after news that at least seven patients were infected and two died from a drug-resistant “superbug”...
  • Turning Contact Lenses Into Telescopes at a Wink of an Eye

    A right wink by someone wearing the contact lenses and a complementary set of glasses switches magnification on, and a left wink switches it off.Nancy CrottiA Swiss university has unveiled a contact lens-glasses combination that could allow the visually impaired to switch between normal and telescopic vision in the wink of an eye.Optics specialist Eric Tremblay of École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) introduced a prototype of the telescopic contact lens at the at the American...