• Hot on the Heels of New 3-D Printing Materials

    For more onthis topic, check out"What’s Next for 3-D Printing? Printable Electronics"The lack of suitable 3-D printable materials is inhibiting the use of this technology in the medical device space. That, at least, was the takeaway message from a Learning Lab on 3-D printing at BIOMEDevice Boston in March. But never fear. At this very moment, myriad organizations are hard at work developing a range of new 3-D printable materials specifically suitable for medical device applications.“Looking at...
  • What’s Next for 3-D Printing? Printable Electronics

    For other developments in 3-D printing, see"Hot on the Heels of New 3-D Printing Materials"Not unlike the development of new medical device materials for 3-D printing applications, it’s difficult to create 3-D printable electronics. Nevertheless, designers and engineers are busy overcoming both challenges, according to Allan Cronen, CEO of GVL Poly (Litchfield, MN). Here’s what he has to say about printable electronics:“Like multimaterial printing, the advent of printable electronics is really...
  • How Do You Know Your Material Is Extrudable? Here's How

    The samples above compare the color retainability of Ultem HU1004 (top row) versus that of PPSU (bottom row) after 100, 200, and 300 sterilization cycles (columns 2, 3, and 4, respectively). The first column shows control samples.When a new material is rolled out for use in medical device applications, at least two questions are posed from the get-go: Can the material withstand various sterilization techniques? And can it be molded or extruded? Ensinger (Washington, PA) was tasked with...
  • We Want to Sponsor You in the Nokia Sensing XCHALLENGE

    Dear Industry Professional,UBM Canon is teaming up with the XPRIZE Foundation in support of the Nokia Sensing XCHALLENGE, and we are looking for teams to compete. The Nokia Sensing XCHALLENGE is a global competition for advancing mobile health sensing technologies with over $1.125 million in total prize purses. UBM Canon and Qmed would like to sponsor one team and will pay the team's competition registration fee of $1000, payable in U.S. dollars.Find out more about the competition, including...
  • Disposables: Four Tips for Selecting the Right Manufacturing Partner

    With so many big-picture issues roiling the medical device industry, why bother with such a ‘minor’ issue as how to manufacture disposables? Simple: Unless they ask the right questions and choose the right partner, engineers, procurement managers, and anyone else involved in the development of single-use medical devices cannot make their projects run smoothly and efficiently. To help them achieve this end, Amber Sherrick, marketing manager at ASI (Millersburg, PA), offers four tips for...
  • 9 Ways Medical Devices Fail

    Medical device recalls appear to be growing at a slower pace than the device industry itself. But when they do happen, they can produce tragic, even deadly, results for patients.MPMN asked members of the LinkedIn Medical Devices Group why device failures happen, receiving nearly 50 answers to date ranging from inexperienced startup companies to plain old human error.Here are nine direct quotes from the discussion that each highlight a way medical device failures can happen, along with some...
  • 15-Year Old Develops Wireless Prosthetic Arm

    Shiva NathanA 15-year-old high school sophomore has designed and built a low-cost modular prosthetic arm and hand controlled by the wearer's brainwaves.Shiva Nathan, of Westford, MA, says that he designed and built his Arduino Prosthesis after a cousin in India lost both her arms in an explosion. The prosthetics she was using were expensive, and not very good, he explained to Design News. So he determined to build something better.Nathan's prototype uses an off-the-shelf Neurosky Mindwave...
  • A Cutting-Edge Biomaterials Technology with 19th Century Roots

    Imagine the case of a man involved in a motorcycle accident who ends up with a gash that severs the nerves in his arm. Using a biomaterial scaffold loaded with growth factors, the nerve could be coaxed into fusing back together.Or imagine the use of vascular grafts that can trigger blood vessel growth that could be used in place of stents.Orchestrating nerve regeneration, blood vessel repair, and wound healing are among the many potential applications of Dallas–based TissueGen’s Elute...
  • Why 3-D Printing Has a Medical Materials Problem

    Additive manufacturing, more commonly called 3-D printing, has already demonstrated all kinds of promising medtech uses—from printing tissue to custom-fit prosthetics to better research models of human organs.And yet the available materials still limit what 3-D printing is able to do in the medical device space.That was a big takeaway from a Learning Lab on 3-D printing recently held at BIOMEDevice Boston.Researchers used 3-D printing to create an interlaced stack of electrodes layer by layer,...
  • What to Do with a Really Tiny Reed Switch

    Coto Technology is ramping up production in May of a microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) reed switch that is only about 1-by-1 mm in size. But what would it be good for in the medical device field?The answer turns out to be a lot, William Gotschewski, vice president of sales and marketing at Coto (North Kingstown, RI), told MPMN at BIOMEDevice Boston on Wednesday.The tiny reed switch, for example, can be used with pill-sized endoscopy camera devices, Gotschewski said. Specifically, a magnet...
  • 3 Challenges to Overcome with MedTech Sensors

    Advanced sensing technologies and the Internet of Things have vast potential to reboot medtech, from home systems that automatically dial 911 when an elderly person falls to the orthopedic implant version of the “check oil” light.“We are experiencing a sensor explosion across all product lines,” consultant Mark DiPerri told a gathering Wednesday morning at BIOMEDevice Boston.Explosions also have their challenges, though. In particular, DiPerri complains of an overabundance of me-too...
  • 3-D Printing Promises New Degrees of Manufacturing Freedom

    Included among the Learning Labs at BIOMEDevice Boston will be a session on 3-D printing. On Wednesday, March 26 at 3:00 p.m., Anthony Vicari, research associate on the advanced materials team at Lux Research (Boston), will speak on “Advanced Applications of 3-D Printing: From Inoperative to Functional Prototypes and Parts.” In the following Q&A, Vicari offers a sneak preview of the themes he will cover in his presentation at the show.MPMN: How would you advise medical device companies...
  • Designing Futuristic Medical Technology

    What technologies will help drive the future of medicine? In the diagnostic realm, promising technologies include digestible sensors, Big Data analytics that crunch huge number sets coming from patients’ genomics and other sources, and wearable sensing technologies. In the therapeutic space, promising breakthroughs include the ability to create synthetic organs (artificial pancreas, anyone? Or a liver?), and 3-D printing, which can be potentially used to create everything from biomaterials to...
  • Energy Harvesting Picks Up Steam

    Since the beginning of the year, researchers from across the globe have announced a number of breakthroughs in the field of energy harvesting.In January, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign announced that they had created a flexible, piezoelectric patch that can convert energy from the beating of the heart into electricity. In a study on large mammals, the researchers demonstrated that the patch could generate 1.2 μW/cm², enough to power a pacemaker.A separate group of...
  • How Plastic Is Trumping Steel in an Ortho Device

    Royal DSM and Sayan Orthopaedics Ltd. have recently announced that Sayan will use braided DSM Dyneema Purity ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) fibers in its new orthopedic trauma treatment device.The device's designers chose the Dyneema Purity UHMWPE fiber over stainless steel with the intent of improving patient comfort, reducing potential allergic reactions and increasing flexibility during surgical implantation. The device will employ a braid of several different Dyneema...
  • 3 More Ways Smart Devices Are Becoming Medical Devices

    This week has seen plenty of news about storied high tech companies including Google, Apple, and Samsung increasingly turning their smart devices into health devices.There was Google's announcement about its Android Wear project, which will include health-tracking functions on smartwatch devices. More details are leaking about the pre-installed, iWatch-compatible Healthbook app that Apple has in the works. Meanwhile, Samsung has unveiled smartphone technology to assist blind people.Anything...
  • Getting the Human Factor Out of Extrusion

    Automation is allowing for far more precise tube extrusion, and is aiding the transition away from PVC medical tubes, according to Chris Weinrich, general manager of downstream extrusion at Conair. Chris WeinrichIn fact, Weinrich doubts it would have been economically feasible to move away from PVC tubing without automation. That’s important because of the worries about PVC including potentially toxic phthalate plasticizers such as DEHP.Weinrich recently answered a series of MPMN questions...
  • Spinning New Possibilities from Bioabsorbable Polymers

    The polymers behind bioabsorbable medical devices have been around since the late 1960s, with innovation arguably stifled by fear of numerous FDA hurdles should new materials be employed. Dennis JamiolkowskiThat doesn’t mean that there isn’t innovation with what is out there.Electrospinning has been explored to produce fabrics of even finer diameter, and there’s the possibility of combining the absorbable materials with drugs, says Dennis Jamiolkowski, distinguished research fellow at...
  • Foldscope: The Little Microscope That Could

     Foldscope imaging modalities. A folded-paper microscope that could cost less than 50 cents to manufacture in quantity may help in the battle against disease in third-world countries, disaster areas, and other places without the benefit of a clinical laboratory.At least that is the hope of Manu Prakash, PhD, assistant professor of bioengineering at Stanford University, and a few of his friends. Called the Foldscope, the device can be assembled from a flat sheet of paper and a few...
  • 3 Things to Learn from the Development of the First ICD

    Think it is hard these days to create an implantable medical device? Try having the FDA tell you that microcontrollers are verboten, or sorting through capacitors that only work 40% of the time, or asking Honeywell if it might shrink one of its high-performance rocket batteries.That is exactly what Mir Imran went through in the early 1980s as he worked on what became the first implantable cardioverter-defibrillator, or ICD.Mir ImranImran, who has a master’s degree in biomedical engineering from...