• 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...
  • How the Medtech Industry Is Tackling Hospital Infections

    Healthcare-associated infections have become a serious matter that medical device designers ignore at their own peril—with a recent Harvard Medical School-led study estimating they cost the U.S. nearly $10 billion a year.Worse, the bugs are becoming increasingly difficult to treat, because there isn’t a new pipeline of antibiotics to replace the ones that have worn out. (Want to get really scared? Watch the report PBS’ Frontline had on the problem last year.)“Now we’re facing the consequences...
  • Why the Micro Still Matters for Materials

    Nanotechnology receives a great deal of attention in the medical device field, with its potential to create highly biocompatible materials, super tiny devices and genetically altered cells. But it is worth noting that plenty of advances are still taking place at the micro level. The Biomerix 3D Scaffold, as shown on the company's website, consists of an interconnected, three-dimensional, network of cells and pores.Look no further than Fremont, CA–based Biomerix Corp. and its porous...
  • 3-D Printed Lung Assists in Opposite-Lung Transplant

    In yet another 3-D printing first, doctors at Kyoto University Hospital (Kyoto, Japan) have used the technology as an assist in a ground-breaking surgery wherein a portion of the donor's right lung was implanted on the patient's left side.Interstitial pneumonia. a pulmonary inflammation of the tissue and spaces around the air sacs of the lungs, had left a woman in her 40s suffering from fibrosis of lung tissue in which the lung tissue had become scarred, stiff, and very thick. The function of...
  • Geckskin: Climb Better Than Spiderman?

    A team of scientists at the University of Massachusetts (UMass) has developed a reusable adhesive inspired by the adhesive toe pads of geckos that enable them to climb up walls. Led by Duncan J. Irschick, PhD, professor of biology, and Alfred J. Crosby, PhD, professor of polymer science and engineering, the team has published “Creating Gecko-Like Adhesives for 'Real World' Surfaces” (DR King, et al.) in the journal Advanced Materials.Irschick and Crosby say that it's not about inventing a...
  • 3-D Printing: Bridging the Gap Between Prototyping and Production

    3-D printing is on everyone’s lips. But is it ready for prime time? Are existing materials and processes ripe enough to replace such tried and true manufacturing methods as CNC machining and injection molding? While it can serve as a rapid prototyping technique, can it make the leap to full-on manufacturing? Andres Bernal, founder of Bioniko Consulting LLC (Sunny Isles, FL) will take a stab at these and other questions on Wednesday, June 11, at MD&M East in a presentation titled “Leveraging...
  • MIT's 3-D Projector Could Be Bridge to Holographic Video

    In a technological development that may have applications in medical imaging, researchers at the MIT Media Lab's Camera Culture group have built a prototype of a glasses-free 3-D TV projector that they intend to unveil at this year's SIGGRAPH (Special Interest Group on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques) show.The projector can also improve the resolution and contrast of conventional video. The researchers hope this could make it an attractive transitional technology, cheaper and more...
  • 5 Ways Watson Has Evolved Since Winning Jeopardy

    IBM’s Watson artificial intelligence platform has evolved significantly since it handily defeated human opponents on the game show Jeopardy three years ago. Shortly after winning, IBM began to retool the platform for the medical field where it can be used to improve the accuracy of clinical decision making and ultimately be integrated with medical devices.To learn more about how IBM has tailored the technology for the medical market, we spoke with Eric Brown, Director of Watson Technologies at...
  • Tiny Chip Could Enable Early Cancer Diagnosis

    The latest achievement in the development of the long-prophesied lab-on-a-chip has been announced by an international team of researchers led by Romain Quidant, PhD, at the Institute of Photonic Sciences (ICFO; Barcelona, Spain).The lab-on-a-chip can detect very low levels of protein cancer markers.Using the latest advances in plasmonics, nanofabrication, microfluidics, and surface chemistry, the device is able to detect very low concentrations of protein cancer markers that may enable...
  • Plastics and Metals Team Up in Medical Device Apps

    By Rudi Gall, Raumedic Inc.Polymers and plastics such as thermoplastic polyurethanes, polyamides, polyolefins, thermoplastic elastomers, and plasticized polyvinyl chloride have continually made their way into medical device applications in recent decades. Increasingly, these materials have been used as substitutes for metals, glass, and other substrate materials because they offer better workability, enable greater design versatility, and lower costs. Anyone who has paid a recent visit to a...
  • Could Bluetooth Smart Spark a Digital Health Revolution?

    The latest iteration of Bluetooth—called Bluetooth Low Energy or Bluetooth Smart—may be enabling the digital health revolution to actually happen. Qualcomm, for one, is an enthusiastic adopter.The San Diego–based communications giant's Qualcomm Life subsidiary announced earlier this year that its 2net Hub, the company’s plug-and-play home gateway for health monitoring devices, has become one of the first hubs that is both an FDA Class I medical device and is able to communicate with devices...
  • NASA Breathalyzer Sniffs Out Cancer

    The Vantage Health Sensor is a prototype Bluetooth-enabled breath tester that works with any smartphone for the early detection of lung cancer (soon) and, eventually, numerous other diseases.The Vantage Health Sensor (Courtesy Vantage Health Inc.)Employing patented technology licensed from NASA, Vantage Health Inc. (Redwood City, CA) is developing the sensor and companion app first for lung cancer detection, then for other diseases. The sensor and app are currently in the prototype...
  • Soon You Can Have Your Battery and Wear It Too

    Chalk up another “Amazing!” for the miracle materials graphene and carbon nanotubes.Graphene and carbon nanotube hybrid fiber (Courtesy Nanyang Technological University)A team of researchers from Nanyang Technological University (Singapore), Tsinghua University (Beijing), and Case Western Reserve University (CWRU; Cleveland, OH) has developed a fiber-like supercapacitor made from graphene and carbon nanotubes that is flexible enough to be woven into clothing and has the highest energy density...
  • Why Heartbleed Is a Worry for Medtech

    The Heartbleed bug has caused plenty of security concerns for Internet and financial companies—not to mention the ordinary people with email and financial accounts who are now worried about hacked passwords.It turns out that medical device companies and the health providers using devices should be concerned, too.“A lot of medical devices are susceptible to this,” Rebecca Herold, the “Privacy Professor” who is CEO of Des Moines, IA–based Rebecca Herold & Associates, said on Wednesday at the...
  • How Watson Will Change Medtech

    IBM quickly turned to healthcare as the next application for its Watson supercomputer, after it famously trumped human Jeopardy opponents in 2011. Already, Watson is being used by the likes of Wellpoint and Memorial Sloan Kettering. The medical device industry, too, stands to benefit from Watson's prowess, says Eric Brown, director of Watson Technologies at the IBM T.J. Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights, NY.“I think at the foundation here, we are creating what we call cognitive...
  • Prosthetic Arms 3-D Printed for Sudan War Victims

    State-of-the-art 3-D printing technology is now helping amputees in the war-torn Nuba Mountains in South Sudan, primarily due to the efforts of Mick Ebeling and his Not Impossible Labs (Venice, CA).Daniel Omar, the first recipient of the 3-D printed arms, was only 14 years old when both his arms were blown off in a Sudanese government airstrike. After Ebeling's visit, he was able to feed himself for the first time in two years with his new 3-D printed prosthetic arm.Daniel (r) and Mohammad and...
  • What Needs to Happen Before Watson Can Fix Healthcare

    Need to find which research articles out of hundreds of thousands have the best suggestions for treating a medical condition? A supercomputer such as IBM’s Watson can help immensely. But a doctor is still needed to make the final decision.“I view this kind of process as decision support and augmentation, not decision making,” Martin Kohn, MD, the former chief medical scientist at IBM, said Tuesday at the 10X Medical Device Conference, held outside Minneapolis.Watson—which initially gained...
  • 10 Rules for Designing Great Medical Devices

    From keeping track of most serious medical device recalls to exploring the sources of medical device failure, Qmed spends plenty of time looking into what goes wrong in the design process. But what are the rules that allow for safe and highly effective design?Eric ClaudeQmed recently asked this question on the Medical Devices Group on LinkedIn, and received a useful response from Eric Claude, vice president of product development at MPR Associates (Alexandria, VA). Claude has been...
  • Don’t Forget about Plastics

    Remember the scene in “The Graduate” where the Dustin Hoffman character is taken aside by a family friend? And he says just one important word of advice: “plastics.” That's kind of what it feels like reading a recent article in Qmed/MPMN’s UBM sister publication, Plastics Today, called “Would any of the top medical devices of all time be possible without plastics?” Reacting to a Qmed/MPMN look into the greatest medical devices of all time, Clare Goldsberry recounts the work of three late,...