• Why MEMS Have a Square Peg, Round Hole Problem

    One of the biggest challenge of integrating MEMS into medical devices lies in their form factor.Brian BuntzMEMS technology is featured in St. Jude's CardioMEMS HF System, which is the first FDA-approved heart failure monitor shown to significantly cut hospital admissions related to heart failure. Used in everything from implantable heart-failure monitors to cutting-edge diagnostics, microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) can give medical devices sophisticated sensing capabilities. Medical device...
  • The Art of Making Antibacterial Bioplastics from Egg Whites and Other Foods

    Alternative bioplastic materials derived from foodstuffs could curb hospital infections. Kristopher SturgisAlex Jones, a doctoral student from UGA, is studying the antibacterial properties of bioplastics.Three nontraditional bioplastic materials—containing albumin (a common protein found in egg whites), whey, and soy protein respectively—have demonstrated promising antibacterial properties, and could potentially serve as an alternative to conventional petroleum-based plastics currently in use...
  • 4 Ways to Ensure Your Temp Workers Preserve Quality

    Managing temporary workers, which has become a fact of life for many medtech companies, has unique challenges.James ReadyMedical device companies and their manufacturing service partners frequently leverage temporary labor in order to keep their operations efficient and cost-effective. It’s also common for projects to ramp-up so quickly that the only way a medical device company can effectively accommodate the needs of their clients is by using temporary labor.If the temporary labor force is...
  • How to Better Prep Medtech Engineers for the Real World

    It turns out that even academic superstars can be bewildered once they start engineering medical devices. Here are some potential answers.Josh Simon, PhDNewly graduated engineers entering the medical device industry should have practical experience, observes Josh Simon, director of business development at Sinclair Research Center. How can a medical device engineer’s education be complete if it only contains academic information?The following story happens to most newly minted engineers sometime...
  • Why Printing a Heart May Be Easier Than You Might Think

    One day, we’ll have little need for many medical devices if a University of Louisville professor is right.Brian BuntzThe heart model developed at the University of Louisville is used for surgical planning. “We’ve been using medical devices for decades in order to keep our tissues and organs going until we figure out a way of reconstructing those tissues and organs,” University of Louisville professor Stuart Williams said at the Bay Area Biomedical Device Conference, held March 31 at San Jose...
  • Introducing a New Method to Stimulate the Brain

    Magnets could be used to induce long-lasting brain tissue stimulation. Kristopher SturgisA novel method of stimulating brain tissue using external magnetic fields allows for the direct stimulation of neurons. Made possible by the manipulations of magnetic nanoparticles, the method could serve as an effective treatment for a variety of neurological diseases.The research, overseen by scientists at MIT, is part of a larger effort at the university to explore alternative methods of delivering...
  • 3-D Printed Prosthetics: This Is How You Get Them to Children

    The international volunteer group E-Nable has become a catalyst when it comes to children receiving 3-D printed “robohands” and other prosthetics.Chris NewmarkerThey aren’t a company. They don’t sell devices. But what the nonprofit volunteer organization E-Nable does provide is a volunteer community with open source information for creating 3-D printed “robohands” and other prosthetics for children.The stories continue to mount. One of the latest involves 7-year-old Faith Lennox, who lives...
  • New Nanoneedles Could Be an Important Tool to Reprogram Cells

    Scientists in England have used “nanoneedles” to successfully deliver nucleic acids into the back muscles of mice.Kristopher SturgisImage of nanoneedles delivering nucleic acids to a human cell (Courtesy of Imperial College London)Researchers from Imperial College London think that a new nanoneedle technique could help deliver nucleic acids to cells. This would then give them the ability to reprogram cells to do many different things, from repairing damaged nerves and organs, to helping...
  • World’s Thinnest Semiconductor Featured in New Nanolaser

    Scientists claim their nanometer-sized laser employs the thinnest semiconductor available today. Kristopher SturgisThe semiconductor is 100,000 times thinner than a human hair.A nanometer-sized laser uses a tungsten-based semiconductor only three atoms thick—making it reportedly more energy efficient, easier to build, and more compatible with modern electronics, according to the researchers at the University of Washington and Stanford University.The researchers boast the semiconductor is the...
  • Jacketing Fine Wires: Critical but Challenging

    Because the wires used in neurostimulation and other implantable devices are minuscule and fragile, extruding an insulation layer around them is no easy featSteve MaxsonA polymer jacket is extruded around the fine wires used in such implantable medical devices as neurostimulators, cochlear implants, and guidewires.Among the most difficult and exacting medical device tubing applications is the extrusion of fine-wire jacketing. Although a highly specialized niche process, jacketing fine wires...
  • Metallic Muscles Flex in This Artificial Hand

    Bundles of hair-thin nitinol enable the fingers of a robotic hand to contract and release.  Brian BuntzDoctoral student Filomena Simone helped develop the hand prototype.Researchers at Saarland University (Saarbrücken, Germany) have developed a lightweight artificial hand capable of carrying out precise motions that uses tiny bundles of nitinol for actuation. The hand is light and flexible, and is devoid of motors, pulleys, pneumatics, or other conventional mechanical components that add...
  • How Google Is Bolstering Its Medical IP Portfolio

    The search engine giant continues to build its collection of medical-related intellectual property, including a smart contact lens and a nanotech wearable that may treat cancer.Nancy CrottiGoogle recently was granted a patent for its smart contact lens technology. Google won a patent for a novel contact lens in the same month that it filed a patent for a nanotech wearable medical device that could possibly detect cancer.Google wouldn’t explicitly confirm whether the former patent covers the...
  • Blood Is No Match for Super-Nonstick Coating

    A super-hydrophobic coating could prove useful for an array of medical device applications.Brian BuntzFor years, Heinz has aired commercials trying to put a positive spin on the way its ketchup stubbornly clings to glass bottles. Plastic bottles make ketchup easier to dispense, but even then, it is seemingly impossible to get all of the ketchup out of the bottle by squeezing or gravity alone. Up to 15% of the condiment remains stuck in the bottle, according to Consumer Reports.Enter a...
  • Achieving More Precise Fluid Dispensing: How Automation Can Help

    A new series of automated fluid dispensing systems combines fast and simple programming to produce better precision.Kristopher SturgisAs medtech devices and components continue to shrink to meet demands, the need for precision has never been greater. While almost half of medical device makers still use manual dispensing technology, the idea of precise liquid dispensing through automation is becoming more  available through Nordson EFD’s new series of automated fluid dispensing systems.The...
  • Find Out About the Latest Graphene Advance

    Graphene may not have replaced silicon in electronics yet, but researchers at three universities may have brought it a step closer.Nancy CrottiCheck out the stripes in the above image, which show differences in electron density in graphene. (Photo courtesy of Lane Martin, through UC Berkeley)Graphene’s one-atom thick lattice of carbon atoms allows for rapid movement of electrodesthrough its two-dimensional form. Now a team of researchers from the University of Pennsylvania; University of...
  • A New Blood Clot Strengthening Polymer You Should Know About

    The polymer, developed at the University of Washington, is inspired by a natural protein.Qmed StaffThis 3-D rendering shows fibrin forming a blood clot, with PolySTAT (in blue) crosslinking the strands. (Image courtesy William Walker/University of Washington)A new injectable polymer could strengthen blood clots and in the process save lives on the battlefield and elsewhere when medical attention isn’t immediately available, according to a report in Qmed’s sister UBM publication, Plastics Today....
  • Could Nanoparticles Be Useful Lung Infection Fighters?

    Researchers have hope in nanoparticles loaded with antibiotics.Kristopher SturgisStaphylococcus aureus was as the target bacteria in the experiments. (Image courtesy of Helmholtz Center for Infection Research)An international team of researchers thinks nanoparticles when it comes to delivering antibiotics directly to the site of an infection, and helping prevent bacteria from forming biofilms that protect the infection from the antibiotics.Researchers from Germany, Brazil, and...
  • How Google Is Fighting Ebola, One Contagion Free Tablet at a Time

    The technology giant has developed a tablet computer with antivirus protection—that is, protection from the viruses that actually kill people.Chris Newmarker and Brian BuntzGoogle's pathogen-resistant tablet computer is the latest in a string of healthcare-related technologies developed by the company. Image from Médecins Sans Frontières.  Although Google’s co-founders have downplayed the importance of healthcare for its business, the company has steadily introduced a range of medical-...
  • Medtech Is Going Wireless, But Risks Still Abound

    A common risk-stratification approach and risk-management culture can go a long way toward closing the gaps that exist in the areas of wireless device safety, security, and effectivenessBob MichaelsOver the past three or four years, regulators have been shedding greater light on the wireless medical device space, providing guidance documents and other public signaling mechanisms. In collaboration with standards development organizations, regulators have been busily recognizing more and more...
  • Molding System Can Fuse Nine Flavors of Silicone into One

    A new molding technique reduces the variability and the cost of multishot molding.Brian BuntzA smartphone case highlighting a new molding process from Dow Corning and Silcotech was on display at MD&M West.Medical device companies have warmed to multishot molding over the years, but the technology can become prohibitively expensive—especially so when the molding operation involved three or four separate materials.To solve that problem, Dow Corning hooked up with Silcotech to create a...