Medical device development using nanotechnology systems and techniques is just getting started. North Carolina State University will lead a National Science Foundation Nanosystems Engineering Research Center that will investigate and do basic research on self-powered health monitoring. The program is called ASSIST, for Advanced Self-Powered Systems of Integrated Sensors and Technologies.

Funded by an NSF grant of $18.5 million over five years, the objective is to develop nanoscale sensors powered by the body’s own energy, thus eliminating the need for battery power. The sensors would be incorporated into wearable devices such as patches or wristbands that would provide continuous monitoring of heart rate, respiration rate and other health indicators, as well as monitor for exposure to environmental pollutants.

This news is indicative of where medical device design and development is headed. Though the program is just getting kicked off and the technology is in the very early research phase, Forma is hoping to become actively involved by aiding in the conceptualization of what these devices might become and how the technology might be packaged in medical devices of the future.