• Apple's Health-Tracking EarPods Might Launch Soon

    Apple's next-gen EarPods may include health monitoring (Courtesy Apple)It would seem that Apple's PR and social media department has been working overtime again to keep the rumor mill stoked and buzzing. But that's what they do...One has the sneaking suspicion that someone (or perhaps several someones) keeps a realtime tweet rate monitor on their desktop and whenever the numbers fall below a certain threshold, out pops a fresh, tantalizing tidbit of “insider” gossip.We recently...
  • Why Parylene Is Still a Go-To Medical Device Coating

    Include parylene with the list of medical device materials that have been around for decades, in this case providing a reliable protective coating for devices.Part of the reason may have to do with how difficult it is to get new types of materials approved with the FDA. But Specialty Coating Systems officials are quick to point out that parylene has plenty of benefits going for it.See Dick Molin, senior medical market specialist at Specialty Coating Systems, discuss parylene at the Tech Theater...
  • 4 Things You Need to Know about MedTech Suppliers

    Shore, director of quality at Nypro, spoke on supplier controls at MD&M Texas on Wednesday, May 7.Jim Shore knows more than a thing or two about enhancing relationships between medical device OEMs and suppliers. A few years back, he was part of a program at Boston Scientific that reduced field actions among its contract manufacturers from 11 down to three—leading to about $8 million in savings.Shore, who is now director of quality at Nypro (Clinton, MA), says the strategy was to...
  • Next-Gen Battery May Charge in Under a Minute

    The novel properties of quantum dots, nanocrystals that are small enough to exhibit quantum mechanical properties, are being employed by Israeli startup StoreDot Ltd. to create a battery that can be fully charged in less than a minute.Quantum dots exhibit properties that are still being explored by researchers. While other types of quantum dots are made of semiconductor materials such as gallium arsenide, these dots are bio-organic and are made of amino acid peptides."We were able to take the...
  • Microbots Propelled by Magnetism Carry, Assemble Payload

    Researchers in many different labs are tackling the same goal of engineering nanodevices that can fight disease from within the body from many different angles.We have recently reported on the Israeli scientists who built DNA origami nanoboxes inside a living cockroach, the Harvard researchers who made stealthy DNA nanodevices invisible to a mouse's immune system, and the MIT chemists who have constructed cancer-fighting nanoparticles that deliver three drugs at once.Now, two scientists at...
  • Graphene Made in Kitchen Blender–but Don't Try It at Home

    The graphene lattice (Courtesy Wikipedia)Graphene is some amazing stuff, with amazing properties that researchers are continually finding new ways to employ.It is basically a lattice of carbon atoms one atom thick. Called a “wonder material” by the American Physical Society, graphene is “a million times thinner than paper, stronger than diamond, more conductive than copper.” And since it is so thin, it is virtually transparent.Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov at the University of Manchester...
  • DNA Nanodevices Sneak Past Mouse Immune Systems

    A natural virus (left) and a lipid-coated DNA nanodevice (right) created by the researchers. (Courtesy Steven Perrault/Harvard's Wyss Institute)Scientists at Harvard's Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering have built the first DNA nanodevices that survive the body's immune system.This is significant because, although researchers have known for some time that it's possible to use DNA as a building block to make nanodevices that can target pathogens, getting those structures past...
  • Optical Computing Breakthrough Could Be Boon for Wearable Devices

    The discovery of a simple way of converting information from magnetism-based storage to light-based transmission has been announced by researchers at the University of Iowa and New York University.This may solve a crucial problem in the development of inexpensive plastic computers of the sort envisioned for wearables such as activity monitors, as well as sundry medical devices such as heart monitors and glucose meters.This breakthrough, which seems likely to have a much greater impact than...
  • Google Working on Embedding a Camera in a Contact Lens

    Google, apparently not content with its Glass device, is now embedding a tiny camera in a contact lens, according to a recently disclosed patent application. Essentially, wearers will not have to ask, “Do you see what I see?” They'll be able to show them.This is not the first improvement to contact lenses that Google has proposed. Back in January  the search giant unveiled a contact lens with an embedded glucose meter that could actually be useful for diabetics.The 'smart' part of this new...
  • Drool, Baby, Drool! Saliva May Power Oral Devices

    A saliva-powered fuel cell. (Courtey Penn State University)While (so far) it produces less than one microwatt of power, researchers have figured out how to harvest electricity from human saliva.Using the oxygen in the air as the cathode and graphene as the anode, scientists at the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (Thuwal, Saudi Arabia) and Penn State University (State College, PA) have harnessed bacteria into a 25-μl microbial fuel cell (MFC).Although saliva does not have the...
  • Body-Heat Powered Wearable Electronics May Be Coming Soon to a Wrist Near You

    Flexible, wearable thermoelectric generator (Courtesy Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology)A paper published by three researchers at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST; Daejeon, Republic of Korea) has been generating considerable buzz in the wearables space. The scientists have formulated and screen printed thermoelectric generators on a flexible glass fabric.The glass-fabric generator produces an order of magnitude more electricity than previous...
  • How Surface Solutions Group Solved a Dangerous MedTech Coating Issue

    At Surface Solutions Group, we think that we've come up with an answer for a medical device coatings issue that has recently dogged the industry. Submitted image from Surface Solutions GroupPure polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) coatings for decades were the “gold standard” for coating guidewires and related products, with unmatched low friction coefficient.But then the EPA required that manufacturers eliminate perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) from their PTFE formulations by 2015. The...
  • How an EMS Firm and a Lean Startup Are Taking on Chronic Pain

    The Senza high-frequency spinal cord stimulation technology could offer relief to many patients with chronic pain.In many ways, neurostimulator maker Nevro (Menlo Park, CA) functions like a quintessential Silicon Valley lean startup. The company has embraced the concept of rapid iteration, and was already working on the 10th generation of its pain-relieving neuromodulation technology before taking the product to the market. After receiving CE Mark approval to commercialize the technology in...
  • How Can You Ensure that Your Device Is Sterile?

    Sterility assurance is necessary for guaranteeing microbe-free medical devices. But to achieve it, how many devices do you really need to test?By Bob MichaelsTo determine the probability that a sterilization process will sterilize a device successfully, the medical device industry relies on a statistic known as the sterility assurance level (SAL). The standard recommended SAL is 10–6—meaning that there is a one in a million probability that a single microorganism will survive on a medical...
  • DNA Origami Nanobots Could Deliver Drugs in Animals

    Atomic force microscopic image of folded nanorobots. (Image courtesy Nature Nanotechnology.)Israeli researchers have created nanobot DNA structures inside a living cockroach, then watched their structure target one of the insect's cells.In “Universal Computing by DNA Origami Robots in a Living Animal,” a paper published in Nature Nanomaterials, the researchers describe how they 'unwound' strands of DNA and used them to build origami nanobox structures that they then filled with a single...
  • Super Cancer-Fighting Nanoparticle Built like a Lego Set

    MIT chemists appear to be upping the game when it comes to cancer-fighting nanoparticles, essentially creating a chemical version of Lego that can deliver three cancer drugs at a time.The advance, which MIT announced Tuesday, could allow for multiple chemotherapeutic agents delivered in nanoparticles that reduce side effects of conventional chemotherapy by targeting the drugs directly to the tumors.The triple-threat nanoparticles killed ovarian cancer cells more effectively than particles...
  • Eyeglasses Chosen As Top Medical Device

    Eyeglasses received about a quarter of all votes in a poll asking readers to pick the top medical device of all time. Image from Wikimedia Commons. Eyeglasses are the top medical device of all time, according to a survey of Qmed readers, which to date has received 739 votes. At the time of writing, eyeglasses had received about a quarter of all of the votes.In any case, corrective glasses are certainly one of the most widely used medical devices. The Vision Council of America estimates that 64...
  • A Fully Functional 3-D Printed Heart Sooner Than You Think

    The Cardiovascular Innovation Institute's executive and scientific director, Stuart K. Williams, PhD, has set his sights on a fully functional, implantable 3-D bioprinted human heart, which could provide a potential cure for heart disease.“We think we can do it in 10 years — that we can build, from a patient’s own cells, a total ‘bioficial’ heart,” Williams, who is also a professor of surgery at the University of Louisville, told the Louisville Courier-Journal's Laura Ungar in an interview...
  • The Technology You Picked for the Nokia Sensing XCHALLENGE

    We received 11 entries for our competition supporting the Nokia Sensing XCHALLENGE. Three technologies snagged the majority of votes: iAware from USC; Promeinfo from Ricardo Silva Bustillos, PhD; and mHolter from Lorenzo Valacca. iAware was in the lead initially, while Pomeinfo overtook it shortly thereafter. On Sunday, April 13, however, Lorenzo's Vallacca mHealth leaped into first place and cemented its lead on Monday, closing the contest with 40.49% of 410 total votes.Qmed will sponsor the...
  • The Hypodermic Syringe: Greatest Medical Device of All Time?

    An early hypodermic syringe kit. (Courtesy American Association for the History of Nursing)Manufactured in the billions every year, the hypodermic syringe may be the greatest medical device ever invented.Hypodermic syringes, along with the myriad of substances for which they are the prime, if not the only, delivery vehicle, have probably been responsible for saving more lives and alleviating more suffering than any other piece of medical technology.The earliest confirmed experiments in...