• Fishing-Line Muscles Are Superstrong

    Artificial muscles in a range of diameters  (Courtesy Haines et al./University of Texas at Dallas)An international team of researchers led by Ray Baughman, PhD, of the University of Texas at Dallas has created artificial muscles from ordinary fishing line that are said to be 100 times more powerful than a human muscle of the same weight and length.The team has published their research, “Artificial muscles from fishing line and sewing thread,” in the February 21 issue of the journal Science...
  • Ekso Taking Wearable Technology to New Heights

    The merging man and machine has long been a staple of science fiction. The lines between the two are blurring with The Daily Beast declaring last week, in hyperbolic fashion, that “The Pentagon Basically Wants to Merge You With a Robot.”In any event, it is true that technology designed for military applications is often been repurposed to drive innovation in medicine. Surgical robotics, prosthetics, and handheld ultrasound have all benefited from pioneering military research.An exoskeleton...
  • Wearable Blood Filter May Be Emergency Dialysis Stand-In

    SEM image of zeolite–EVOH nanofiber composite (scale bar: 8 μm). (Courtesy Namekawa et al.)Envisioning a simple, cheap, and accessible way to treat patients suffering from kidney failure in places where dialysis isn't available, a team of researchers from the National Institute for Materials Science (NIMS) in Ibaraki, Japan, has developed a nanofiber mesh that can remove toxins and waste from  blood.In their paper, “Fabrication of zeolite–polymer composite nanofibers for removal of uremic...
  • New Dimension to 3-D Printing: Modeling Aneurysms

    Hear Ankur Chandra present "Case study: Highly Accurate Prototyping for Medical 3-D Printing" at BIOMEDevice Boston, Wednesday, March 26 at 2:40 p.m.Virtually everyone today knows that 3-D printing can be used to create everything from prototypes, tools, and handguns to such synthetic organs and body parts as livers and ears. But less well known is that the technology is also a prime candidate for modeling diseases. For example, at the University of Rochester (Rochester, NY), researchers are...
  • How Silk Could Drive Ortho Innovation

    Medical device experts are getting pretty innovative with orthopedic implant materials, even engineering special titanium dioxide nanotube surfaces. But they might have a bit of competition from Mother Nature.Surgical plates and screws made from pure silk protein not only offer improved bone remodeling, but also can also be absorbed by the body over time, according to a research team from Tufts University School of Engineering and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.Silk-based screws, as shown...
  • Apple's Rumored Medical Device? There's an App for That

    iWatch concept by Todd HamiltonOh, the rumors, the rumors!Update from March 6: The most recent reports involving Apple suggest that future iPhones would be able to detect when a user is undergoing a medical emergency and can automatically call for help. This is bolstered by an Apple patent granted by the titled "Mobile Emergency Attack and Failsafe Detection." The system could be triggered after the device's accelerometer detects that the phone has undergone a sudden shock. First offering the...
  • Google Glass as a Remote Rapid Test Reader Demonstrated

    Researcher reads a rapid test using Google Glass app. (Courtesy Feng, et al.)Researchers from the Electrical Engineering and Bioengineering Departments of the University of California, Los Angeles, (UCLA) and the California Nanosystems Institute (CNI) have collaborated to develop a rapid diagnostic test (RDT) reader for the Google Glass device that is capable of returning results from various lateral-flow immunochromatographic assays and similar medical diagnostic rapid tests within seconds.A...
  • Are You Using Sapphire in Your Next Medical Device?

    Imagine a device with a screen so strong that it could stand up to being bashed with a chunk of concrete. What if the screen could emerge unscathed, after an eight-inch concrete block is placed atop of it and then rubbed across its surface?Second only to diamond in terms of its toughness, sapphire crystal can be tapped to make both of the above scenarios possible—as evidenced in YouTube videos that place a sapphire screen atop the normal screen of the iPhone 5S.  Apple is said to be...
  • 3-D Printed Membrane Holds Sensors Close to Heart

    Elastic membranes shaped precisely to match the epicardium of an individual's heart have been created by Igor Efimov, PhD, school of engineering and applied science, Washington University (St. Louis), and a team of researchers via the use of 3-D printing.Example of the 3-D elastic heart membrane (Courtesy Washington UniversityCurrent technology cannot cover the full surface of the epicardium, or maintain reliable contact for continual use without sutures or adhesives, so Efimov and his team...
  • How Light-based Electronics Could Rev Up Computers

    Optoelectronic device made of silicon and carbon nanotubes (Courtesy Northeastern University)Two Northeastern University (Boston) professors have combined their expertise to make a discovery that may help future-generation computers and other electronics run even faster.Assistant professor of physics Swastik Kar, PhD, and Yung Joon Jung, PhD,an associate professor in the department of mechanical and industrial engineering, have published a paper in Nature Photonics that describes the devices...
  • Tiny Ultrasound Camera Images Blood Vessel Interior in 3-D

    A prototype of the catheter-based ultrasound camera. (Courtesy Georgia Institute of Technology)Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology (Atlanta) have developed a prototype ultrasound camera capable of transmitting image data from within a blood vessel or a heart at 60 frames per second. The forward-looking 3-D images produced by the device will provide significantly more information than existing cross-sectional ultrasound.Team leader F. Levent Degertekin, PhD, of Georgia Tech's...
  • How Warping Sound Waves Could Boost Ultrasound Imaging

    Airborne sound waves can be warped using a device known as an acoustic field rotator made of metamaterials. Researchers from across the world have tapped metamaterials to develop everything from invisibility-cloak like devices to superlenses.This, however, represents the first time that metamaterials have been used to warp sound waves in a manner to how they’ve been used to bend electromagnetic or liquid waves.The scientists, based in China and in the United States, suspect that the ability to...
  • Using Nitinol and Lasers to Make Articulated Endoscopic Tool Tips

    In minimally invasive and natural-orifice transluminal endoscopic surgery, doctors require articulation in surgical tool tips to improve dexterity and gain access to hard-to-reach areas. Because surgical tool tips generally afford only straight-line access, articulation adds an extra degree of freedom. While as much as 90° of articulation is desirable, assembling conventional hinged joints at this scale is challenging. To overcome the difficulty of creating endoscopic tool tips affording the...
  • 9 Technologies That Transcend mHealth Hype

    “Is it time to rethink the healthcare model?” asked Yan Chow, MD, MBA, the director of Kaiser Permanente (KP) Information Technology's Innovation & Advanced Technology Group (IAT) in a keynote at MD&M West.The implied answer appeared to be "yes," and a big part of that rethinking could be enabled by mobile technology, which will allow clinicians to have a continuous relationship with patients. The goal will be to treat patients efficiently and reduce waste.Technology will play an...
  • Researchers Achieve First Precise Primate Gene Modification

    Graphical abstract of the researchers' work. (Courtesy Niu et al. and Cell)Genetically modified monkeys have been successfully grown by Chinese scientists. In a paper published in the January 30 issue of the journal Cell, the authors describe how they achieved precise gene modification in monkeys for the first time. This milestone could lead to new avenues for the development of more effective treatments for a range of human diseases.The team attempted to modify the genomes of single-cell-stage...
  • Man with 3-D Printed Pelvis Walks Again

    The British press has lately been all a-buzz with the story of Craig Gerrand, MD, consultant orthopedic surgeon at Newcastle-upon-Tyne Hospitals NHS Trust  (Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Northumberland, UK) who used a 3-D printer to replace a large section of a man's pelvis.Craig Gerrand shows off a pelvis model.The unnamed patient, in his 60s, was suffering from chondrosarcoma, a rare form of cancer. Gerrand told Ben Farmer, reporting for The Telegraph (Chatham, Kent, UK), “Since this cancer does...
  • Stretching the Old Biomaterial Paradigms

    Do new biomaterials require new paradigms, or does their introduction to the market create paradigms? It is almost hard to believe that some of the most prominent resorbable biomaterials today have been in use in medical devices since the 1960’s. Although the sum total of human knowledge on material properties and their interactions with human tissues has increased greatly since those days, the final devices used in patients have taken little if any advantage of this new data.Why is that?Most...
  • How Mobile Health Is Changing MedTech—Or Not

    Some say mobile health could make half of existing medical devices obsolete. Some say even more.And while there is plenty of debate on this subject, many say a change is gonna come to the medtech industry.“Perhaps the bottom line is the device market of the future will be markedly different than the past,” says Brian Baum, founder and CEO of Baltimore–based health data startup vitaTrackr Inc.People might call it by different names: mobile health, telehealth, connected health, or iHealth. But...
  • Could Digital Health Make Most Medical Devices Obsolete?

    Don't say you weren't warned about the coming mobile health tidal wave.A recent keynote address at MD&M West suggested that digital health technology could end up displacing half of traditional medical devices. That figure might even be an underestimate, says regulatory expert George Samaras of Samaras & Associates Inc. (Pueblo, CO). In an email, which we have posted below, Samaras stressed the importance of first distinguishing between sales numbers or the number of types of medical...
  • How Nanotubes Could Drive Next-Gen Orthopedic Technology

    Nanomaterial advances are set to greatly increase the performance of orthopedic implants, if a recent presentation at MD&M West in Anaheim, CA is any indication.Peoria, AZ–based Nasseo last fall won FDA clearance for its TiArray Dental Implant System that uses a special titanium dioxide nanotube surface to make its titanium screws more bone growth-friendly, hopefully creating a bond between the implant and bone quickly enough to prevent inflammation from developing.The nanotube surface is...