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What’s Ahead for 2019

We’re about to go into a new year. With that come predictions about what the year ahead will bring. From what I’ve been seeing, here are the areas that will be big in 2019: Artificial Intelligence (AI): AI has been in the news for a number of years now. 2019 could see the technology reach [...]

Medical Devices to Reduce Pain

Because of the opioid addiction epidemic in the US, there has been a push this year to encourage the development of non-addictive methods of reducing chronic and acute pain. SPR Therapeutics has an FDA-cleared device that does that. The SprintPNS (peripheral nerve stimulation) device consists of an electrical lead that is guided to its placement [...]

Attack of the Microbots

Last week I wrote about research being done at Harvard to develop micro-scale soft robots. Well, just down the street from Harvard, MIT is working to develop robots that are the size of a single cell. But more than an advancement in robotics, the MIT effort is being touted as a breakthrough method of manufacturing [...]

Micro-scale Soft Robots

Medical robotics has been focused mainly on large, sophisticated systems that make surgery more efficient. Now we are seeing developments in tiny, soft robotic devices that could move around inside the body to perform various medically related tasks, from delivering drugs to a precisely targeted area to actually performing surgery. For example, Harvard’s Wyss institute [...]

The Ears Have It

Wearable devices have grown into a substantial consumer market. Yet their usefulness has not lived up to their hype. Most people give them up after about six months. No one has come up with functionality that is compelling enough to foster continued use of wearable devices. Once their novelty wears off, their use is abandoned. [...]

Radar to Detect Blood Glucose Levels

Scientists at the University of Waterloo are working on a device that would use radar to determine blood glucose levels. By analyzing how the electromagnetic waves sent by a radar transmitter bounce off of a glucose solution, the scientists were able to detect minute changes in the properties of solutions with different levels of glucose. [...]

Where Medical Imaging is Headed

Most medical imaging technologies in widespread use today provide relatively low-resolution, black and white, 2-dimensional images that require significant training to interpret and understand. However, new technologies are being developed that are going to revolutionize medical imaging, allowing 3-dimensional, color images to be obtained. Some of those technologies can even yield video images in real [...]

At-Home Diagnostics is Here

At-home diagnostics is about to have a major impact on healthcare systems world-wide. Healthy.io has just received FDA clearance to market their home diagnostic urinalysis system in the United States. It is already CE certified. For a simple explanation of the product, see this article in MedGadget. The Healthy.io website also has several excellent, short videos [...]

Electronic Bandages

Flexible, wearable devices are being developed that could act as electronic bandages. Engineering researchers at a number of universities are collaborating on a device that would both monitor how a wound was healing and deliver drugs to the wound site as needed. This is an application of cutting edge technology to a basic and pervasive [...]

Will Light be the Key to Curing Addiction?

Optogenetics is a tool that is being used extensively to learn how the brain works. In a study recently published in Nature, a research team was able to use optogenetic techniques to modify taste sensations in mice. By stimulating with light genetically altered areas of the brain, they were able to make the mice experience [...]

A Simple App to Encourage Behavior Change?

Medtronic and Nutrino  have partnered to offer the iPro2 myLog App that integrates with Medtronic’s iPro2 professional continuous glucose monitor (CGM). The app provides an easy way for diabetes patients to track the foods they consume – they simply take a picture of their meal. Artificial intelligence is used to analyze the food consumed and [...]

New Battery Technology?

The medical press is filled with breathless hype about the potential of new technologies. I am guilty of that myself. While there are a lot of very interesting things going on in science that could be employed in medical technology, the fact is that it takes a very long time before something proved to be [...]

Cell Processes Revealed

A new microscopy technique developed by a consortium of universities has enabled unprecedented imaging of processes occurring deep within living cell structures. The technique involves passing an ultra-thin sheet of light repeatedly through the target area, effectively creating slices of the target volume. A computer can stitch the image data captured to create a 3-dimensional [...]

Low cost, Flexible Electronic Body-Worn Monitors

Flexible electronics have significant potential for applications in medical devices. Still mostly in the developmental stages, I believe it will be very soon that we will see them in commercial products. According to an article in Medical Design Technology, a team at the University of Texas at Austin has developed a way to manufacture flexible [...]

More on Computer-augmented Imaging

I have written on numerous occasions about the fact that computer algorithms are being developed to enhance imagery from ultrasounds, MRI’s, CT scans and the like to provide far greater resolution and clarity. A recent story in Medical Device Technology reported that deep machine learning has been used to enhance images from smartphone cameras to [...]

Will Medical Devices Replace Pharmaceuticals?

To date, the wearables market has been focused on providing monitoring functionality – steps taken, heart rate, pulse, etc. In the future, wearable devices are also going to provide therapeutic remedy functionality. There are a number of companies that have recently come out with devices to treat various maladies that are normally addressed with pharmaceuticals. [...]

Algorithm-based Healthcare

Sonde Health contends that analysis of subtle changes in your voice can accurately reveal important aspects of your health. They are working to develop an algorithm that can be used to compare the vocal characteristics of an individual over time and use the data to develop correlates to mark the earliest onset of illness and [...]

Implanted Sensors

Sensors that can be implanted in the body will be replacing the current generation of wearable technology. Profusa, a company based in San Francisco, has developed a device that can be implanted under the skin and can serve as a sensor to determine levels of oxygen, carbon dioxide, glucose and lactate in the blood. What’s [...]

Structured Light

I have been writing for some time about the technological advances that are being made allowing us to harness the characteristics of light for a multitude of new uses. I’ve even described the 21st Century as being the Century of Light, because of the new discoveries that are being made and the potential those discoveries [...]

A Nanoscale Artificial Eye

The advances we are making in understanding the physics of the nano scale are truly amazing. The inventions that come from that understanding will be as disruptive – or more so – than were the internal combustion engine or the internet. An example of where we are heading can be seen in research that is [...]

Coming Soon, To Your Own Phone!

I have written in the past about non-invasive sensing to monitor health parameters. It appears that one such technology could soon go mainstream. Smartphone video cameras can capture the subtle changes in skin coloring that occurs as blood pulses underneath. GE Global Research – along with Michigan State University and the University of Rochester Medical [...]

Flexible Electronics Advance for Medical Devices

The technology surrounding flexible electronics is making considerable strides, with the latest news coming out of Stanford University. A team at Stanford has developed a system composed of layers of polymers that provide stretch-ability, electrical conductance and insulation. Importantly, the team has also developed a method to fabricate the material in production quantities. With 6000 [...]

Rotational 3D Printing

3D Printing has been hyped for a long time as a game-changing manufacturing method. But its use is still limited mainly to the production of prototype parts. Using the technology for large-scale commercial manufacturing has proven difficult due to limitations of the physical properties (mostly strength) of the materials suitable to be 3D printed. It [...]

Artificial Muscle for Soft Robots

Material science and mechanical engineering researchers at Colorado University, Boulder, have developed a remarkable system that imitates the function of biological muscle. The devices are described as “hydraulically amplified self-healing electrostatic” actuators, or HASEL for short. They consist of a soft pouch – foil, elastomer, or other soft/flexible material – filled with electrically insulating liquid [...]

More on the Century of Light

I have been predicting that harnessing the characteristics of photons and light energy is going to be the source of many of the most significant innovations we will see in this century. More support for this observation comes from an article at kurzweilai.net, that discusses how light might replace electrons to create faster, smaller and [...]

The Physics of Future Medical Devices

Untangling the mysteries of quantum physics could have a huge impact on future medical devices. MIT Technology Review reports on a study out of the Federal University of ABC in Brazil in which researchers say they have been able to reverse the arrow of time. No, this isn’t a “Back to the Future” scenario. It [...]

Flexible Microfluidics for Medical Devices

A flexible microfluidic system is being developed in John Rogers' Lab at Northwestern University. Rogers, previously at University of Illinois – Champaign, is the leading pioneer in flexible electronics. The device under development uses wireless electronics, color sensors and silicone with microfluidic channels etched in. In the form of a flat patch, it attaches to [...]

Augmented Reality to Aid Surgery

Augmented reality has been a hot topic this year. Most of the emphasis at present seems to be in the consumer and entertainment area. However, the Fraunhofer Institute in Germany is experimenting with using augmented reality technology to aid in the surgical removal of cancerous lymph nodes. Cancers often spread first to the lymphatic system. [...]

Algorithms and Medical Imaging

Analytics 4 Life is a new company that is working on bringing a device to market that uses Phase Space Tomography to provide a new form of digital imaging for diagnostic purposes. Their initial focus is on coronary artery disease. Their CorVista system uses 7 sensors that attach to a patient’s chest and back. From [...]

Scientific Wellness

Scientific wellness is a term that Dr. Leroy Hood uses to describe where he thinks the future of health care lies. Dr. Hood is President and Co-Founder of the Institute for Systems Biology, an organization that is on the leading edge of looking at ways of combining large sets of personal health data, genomic indicators [...]

Non-Invasive Monitoring (and other things)

Let’s talk about non-invasive monitoring, body-worn sensors and what the future of medical devices might look like. A recent story in Medical Device and Diagnostic Industry (MDDI) reports that Fitbit is collaborating with several other companies to bring glucose monitoring capability to a smartwatch. That is hard to do. Many companies have been hoping to [...]

The Current Design Trend

This post was initially going to be about the increasing prevalence of home diagnostic devices. One recent device is from Athelas. The device can analyze blood from a finger-prick droplet. It is meant to be used at home to allow patients to monitor changes in disease progression or to catch at the earliest stage whether [...]

Sensors and Smart Medical Devices

Tiny computing devices are being incorporated into the human experience in thousands of ways. Along with that, sensor technology is progressing rapidly. This trend will provide significant opportunity in the design of medical devices. With the wearable sensors that are available today, along with their associated apps, we are just scratching the surface of what [...]

Convergence of Diagnostics, Drugs and Devices

I am seeing a lot of stories in the medical press about new developments in diagnostic devices and point-of-care analytical systems. New microfluidic devices seem to be announced regularly. Imagine a future whereby you could deposit a small sample of your own blood or urine onto a microfluidic slide, insert it into a reader attached [...]

The Leading Edge of Medical Device Design

The PocketECG system from MEDICALgorithmics is a good example of where medical device design is headed. The PocketECG is essentially a Holter monitor combined with a physical activity tracker. What is significant is that, with data being collected on both heart rhythm and physical activity, it allows correlates to be established that can provide a [...]

From the Safety of Your Own Home

Will visits to the doctor’s office be a thing of the past? In late 2016, TytoCare received FDA clearance for its device that enables physical examinations to be done remotely. From their press release: “TytoCare’s modular exam tools and fully integrated telehealth platform enable a remote examination of the heart, lungs, heart rate, temperature, throat, [...]

Accuracy of Medical Wearables

A story at Medgadget presages an issue that is going to be of increasing concern for health and medical wearable devices. It appears that some approved devices now on the market are not as accurate in detecting physical events as initial testing had indicated. FDA approval was granted based on study test results, but now [...]

Hearables

Wearable technology has advanced quickly in just the few years that it has come to be known as a category. The next wave in this progression is going to come from smart technology that uses the ear as its interface. Valencell  is a company that is pioneering advancement in biometric sensors. Their newsletter pointed me to [...]

Graphene Hope Springs Eternal

One of the potential uses for graphene – the super-material that has yet to live up to its promises – is as a capacitor for storing electrical energy. I wrote back in 2013 about Ric Kaner’s lab at UCLA being able to produce sheets of graphene flakes. They found that the material could quickly gain [...]

Hacking the Brain

The past several years has seen a new emphasis on medical and scientific research delving into how our minds work. As we learn more about the brain and become adept at translating the electrical impulses that characterize thought patterns, we will see more and more interfaces that use thought to manipulate computers and machines. This [...]

Hydrogels in Medical Device Development

I have predicted that hydrogels are going to be a significant topic in medical device development in 2017, and recent news out of Duke University supports this. Duke researchers have been able to develop a “double-network” hydrogel that combines two different hydrogel materials and can be formed to shape using a 3D printer. Significantly, the material [...]

Home Diagnostic Devices

All kinds of medical devices are making their way from the hospital into the home. Diagnostic and monitoring devices are following that trend. A story from MedGadget reports on a portable tonometer, recently FDA approved, that patients can use in their homes or when they are traveling to monitor their intraocular pressure. I’m not sure [...]

What’s Up Wtih Graphene?

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted anything on graphene. There was a lot of buzz about it earlier in the decade, but the technological breakthroughs needed to make the material viable for use in commercial applications, including in medical devices, have been slow to materialize. Is there anything new to report? Not really … but [...]

Electronic Tattoo

Well, not really a tattoo, but a sensor patch made to look like one. Flexible electronics have been in development for a number of years now, and their practical use in the medical field is beginning to be seen. This video is about a patch that monitors the body’s sweat production so you can stay [...]

More on Hydrogels in Medical Device Design

My last post was about how hydrogels will be an important medical technology that will see significant developments this year. Further evidence of that from another report at Medgadget. Researchers at University of California, San Diego are using 3D printing methods to build millimeter-scale networks that mimic vascular structures. From the Medgadget article: “The new method, [...]

Hydrogels: The Most Important New Medical Technology

As a package for implantable medical devices, hydrogel material holds enormous promise. The topic is showing up with increasing regularity in the research and medical development press. In 2016, the developmental focus was on flexible electronics. That is still an important technology, and advances will continue to be made. But in 2017, the focus is [...]

Value-based Health Care

Value-based health care is replacing the fee for service model that the health care industry has been operating under for most of its history. Can medical device designers help in this transformation? Value-based care seeks to improve outcomes, increase patient satisfaction, and reduce the cost of care. Improving device design should have positive impact in [...]

Smartphone Medical Devices

I’ve written several times in the past about smartphones being employed as the base platform for medical devices and diagnostic instruments. A new milestone has been reached using that strategy by researchers who have created a device that can image DNA sequences and can reportedly perform mutation analysis on living tissue. The device is portable, [...]

Graphene Gyroid Geometry

Researchers have been trying to get graphene to behave as a 3D material for some time. Their work might have finally paid off, but not in the way expected. Graphene is one of the strongest materials that exists. It is also light weight and has electrical properties that could give it advantages in many functional [...]

Gamification Theory

A recent story about Reflexion Health’s Virtual Exercise Rehabilitation Assistant (VERA) points to the continuing progress that is being made in moving medical care out of the hospital and into the home. That trend has been underway for some time, and I think it will accelerate in the years ahead. With the continuing pressure on reducing [...]

Are Wearables at an Inflection Point?

Wearable devices that can tell you such things as how many steps you’ve taken in a day, or what your heart rate is have become fairly common. There are many devices out there, and consumers have embraced them. But most of these devices are limited in what they can do. For many people who try [...]

Thought-controlled Machines

I have written in the past about how we will be able to control machines using our thoughts alone. Advances in research into our ability to do so seem to be coming more frequently. The latest is news from MedGadget, out of the University of Minnesota. A team there has been able to employ non-invasive [...]

Robotics in Medicine

Robotics is moving into the medical sphere in a big way. Beyond surgery, robotic devices are going be developed to aid in many medical tasks and procedures. This story from MedGadget is about a robotic device developed at the Fraunhofer Institute that makes positioning for a needle biopsy much easier, accurate and efficient. I can [...]

Selling Solutions along with Devices

Large med tech companies are offering education and training in support of their device products. We are at the beginning stages of a change whereby companies are considering how they can add value beyond simply offering a better device. Leading edge companies are looking at the entire ecosystem in which their products exist, and what [...]

Driverless Cars and Automated Medicine

Automation is coming to disrupt everyone’s lives. It’s predicted that soon, driverless vehicles will render the truck driving profession obsolete. Many other industries will be affected as well, including medicine. What might this new world look like, and how will we adapt to it? The impact on employment is obvious and will be massive. When [...]

Personalizing Healthcare

So Humana is using data they collect on their insureds to group them by “personas” as a means to tailor care in a more personalized manner. Personas are not new. They are used all the time in sales and marketing to help companies position their products in ways that will best appeal to people with [...]

Heart Defibrillation Using Light

Many recent technological advances in medicine and in other areas have been achieved by harnessing light in some manner. I have written on a number of occasions how I believe that this century’s innovations will be driven by finding new ways to control and apply light energy. The most recent news on this front comes [...]

Micro-invasive Surgery

Minimally invasive surgery is relatively common. Many procedures are done laparoscopically, with only a few small slits in the body required. On the horizon now is micro-invasive surgery – internal surgeries accomplished without having to disturb the dermis at all. One experimental approach being studied is using the body’s natural orifices through which to introduce [...]

Heart Disease and Hugs

Many people in the United States either suffer from heart failure or have a family member die from it. Did you know that, according to the Center for Disease Control, that one in every four deaths is due to heart disease and that it is also the leading cause of death in both men and [...]

Regenerative Bandages and Diabetic Ulcers

Did you know that the leading cause of lower body amputations is from infected ulcers caused by diabetes? Foot ulcers triggered by diabetes contribute to increased medical costs, hours of pain, and a lower quality of life for the patient. Now, biomedical engineers working at Northwestern University have developed a product to help address this [...]

Sleep Quality and Your Health

Everyone knows that getting the right amount of sleep is one of the most important aspects of a healthy lifestyle, but did you know that 35% of U.S. adults do NOT get their recommended 7 hours of sleep each night? Unfortunately, having a sleep deficit is a common problem for a lot of adults and [...]

Holograms in Medical Application

Imagine performing surgery on a patient using a headset that incorporates “mixed reality” holograms into the procedure. Well this may be something you are able to do in the near future! Microsoft has developed a device called the Hololens, and they are currently developing a holographic anatomy education program with Cleveland Clinic and Case Western [...]

Surgery With Magnets

One of the prospective technologies that I have been monitoring is that of non-invasive surgery using magnetics or injectable robots. A device that moves surgery in that direction has just received CE approval and De Novo FDA clearance. Levita Magnetics has developed a laparoscopic instrument that has a tip that can be detached from the [...]

Sea Change for Medical Device Makers

The fee-for-service healthcare model is being replaced by a value-based care model. This is a sea change, and therefore a significant opportunity for those who can envision ways of fulfilling the needs of the new market model. For medical device makers, opportunities lie in developing ways to extend device offerings to provide associated services and [...]

Blue Lights and Your Sleeping Habits

With our increasing attachment to our electronic gadgets, many people tend to spend time on their phones and computers late at night. Unfortunately, not everyone knows that the blue lights emitted from their electronic devices can negatively affect healthy melatonin production and the ability to sleep well at night. A company in Japan called JINS [...]

Electroceuticals and “Neural Dust”

Medical Design and Outsourcing reports that researchers at the University of California, Berkeley have developed a technology they are referring to as “neural dust”. The devices are tiny sensors, the size of a large grain of sand. When implanted in the body, ultrasound is used to vibrate a piezoelectric crystal in the device, generating electrical [...]

Where Medical Imaging is Heading

Medical imaging is heading to 3 dimensions, like everything else! A recent story at Medgadget highlights the accomplishments of EchoPixel and Hewlett-Packard in bringing a device to market that enables image data from CT and MRI scans to be viewed in 3 dimensional space. The system also allows physicians to manipulate the anatomy and view tissue [...]

Sensory Augmentation

This story in EETimes is about a trend that is well underway now, but which is going to grow even more rapidly in the next few years: the melding of medical technology with consumer products. The impact on economics and lifestyle will be sweeping. You could call “hearables” a subset of wearables, which already command [...]

The Fourth Industrial Revolution

I think everyone can feel that the world we live in is changing, and changing rapidly. Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum believes we are at the beginning of a fourth Industrial Revolution. According to the WEF article, the first revolution was about harnessing the steam engine to mechanize production. The [...]

The Shape of Things to Come

Medgadget reports that Healcerion, a South Korean company, has developed a portable ultrasound device that is no bigger than the transducer itself. It couples wirelessly to a tablet or smartphone. According to the report, the device isn’t meant to replace large ultrasound machines, but to allow ultrasound technology to be used in situations in which the [...]

Soft Robots

Vacuum-actuated muscle-inspired pneumatic structures. VAMPs. Developed at Harvard University and being adapted for commercial use by Soft Robotics, Inc., VAMP’s use vacuum instead of pressure to actuate a flexible body and cause it to contract. The action is likened to the way the biceps muscle works. This is a unique approach that carries a number of [...]

Disrupting the Healthcare System

A recent report that I noticed on the MedGadget website reveals how innovative companies are disrupting the healthcare system. The Trak male fertility testing system is a device that can be used at home to test sperm count. It has received FDA clearance. The product page claims that, after 500 hours of testing and clinical [...]

Surgery’s Future

Back in 2015, I wrote about where surgical technology is headed. New evidence to support that prediction comes from Todaysmedicaldevelopments.com The story is about tiny, origami-like robots, folded in ice. When the ice capsule is ingested, the ice melts and the device unfolds, whereupon it can be propelled and manipulated by external magnetic force. This [...]

Powered by Light

My prediction that this century is going to be powered by light gets more credence with today’s big story in Wired magazine about Magic Leap. The webs are a-buzz with takes on the Wired article. If you don’t know, Magic Leap is a company that is working on delivering MR – “Mixed Reality”. Their technology [...]

3D Printing Medical Devices

There are beginning to be some meaningful advances in 3D printing that could make it the preferred manufacturing method for many medical devices. This report from the Fraunhofer Institute in Germany announces an additive manufacturing technique that allows multiple materials to be printed to form a single part. Fraunhofer has developed a way to create [...]

Smart Fabrics: Next Med Device Frontier

The Department of Defense is funding research into combining sensors, electronics and power generators into fibers, threads and yarns to produce advanced smart fabrics. According to the press release: “The institute will bring together nontraditional partners to integrate fibers and yarns with integrated circuits, LEDs, solar cells, and other capabilities to create textiles and fabrics [...]

Flexible Electronics in Medical Devices

Flexible electronics are about to bring a revolution to medical device design. MC10 has been the pioneer in flexible electronics, and seems close to having a device on the market that utilizes their advantages in interfacing with the human body. Other institutions, such as EPFL (Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne) are also making strides in advancing the [...]

The Century of Light, Continued

Our ability to harness light energy to control mechanical systems and employ it in many other useful ways continues to grow. I have written how the 21st century will be the century of light. Optogenetics is one of the emerging fields that will have a significant impact in putting the power of light to work. [...]

Thought and Gesture

The way in which we interact with machines is changing. A lot of progress is being made in the area of gesture-based control and in thought-based control – controlling machines with our minds. Knobs and switches are going to give way to hand movement and brain waves. Eye movement and vocal commands are also being [...]

Predictive Medical Devices

More and more wearable devices are coming on the market intended to help people with their health and fitness goals. There will be medical devices that will adopt the system perspective of wearables and evolve to being tools that can predict upcoming health problems and enable people to head them off. Combined with family medical [...]

Design and Healthcare

I have written on several occasions in the past about how hospitals will be leaders in medical device design. More support for that hypothesis comes from Today’s Medical Developments and the University of Pennsylvania. Medical schools are realizing that design is the primary driver in the way people experience all aspects of the healthcare system, [...]

The Cost of Healthcare

The cost of healthcare was the big focus at the JP Morgan 2016 healthcare conference held in January in San Francisco. Attended by all of the major healthcare providers, it’s a window into what is going to shape the healthcare sector in 2016. According to reporting from Becker’s Hospital Review, these were the 10 topics [...]

Med Device Design and the Maker Movement

Med device design is typically done by companies with significant resources. Capital, design and engineering talent, and infrastructure to comply with regulatory requirements are typical of what it takes to move from idea to viable product in the medical space. The need for that foundation will not be changing any time soon. What is changing, [...]

The Future of Sensing Technology

Implantable biosensors are the future of sensing technology.  Not only will they be implantable, but they will be able to be placed in the body in a minimally invasive manner via injection. The Profusa company will be introducing an injectable oxygen sensor. One key to the technology is that it is built within a hydrogel scaffold. The [...]

Future Medical Devices

I’ve touted our current century as being the century of light . The latest evidence for this prediction comes from kurzwilai.net in a story about optoelectronic microprocessors. Using light to transmit data requires a lot less energy than using electricity. The reduced power requirements make optoelectronic chips an attractive field for applied research. Researchers at a [...]

Stretchable Medical Devices

Flexible electronics are the wave of the future. And combining flexible electronics with soft, pliant hydrogel material is going to transform medical product design. From MedGadget, we learn that researchers at MIT are developing hydrogel materials and incorporating sensors and drug delivery mechanisms into them. The key here is the flexible nature of the hydrogel, [...]

The Next Buzz

Patient Generated Health Data. Or, PGHD. We will be hearing more and more about this in the coming years. According to the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC),  “Patient-generated health data (PGHD) are health-related data created, recorded, or gathered by or from patients (or family members or other caregivers) to help address [...]

Software-Defined Batteries

I have written before about the fact that the lack of advancement in battery technology is a prime constraint in medical device design. A new approach developed by Microsoft researchers might enable some progress in this area. Via an article in MIT Technology Review: today’s batteries typically have a particular chemical design that defines its [...]

Bionics

My November 3rd post was about how technology initially intended to help disabled persons regain physical function was being extended to provide able-bodied individuals with augmented strength and endurance. Prosthetics that enable the human body to surpass its inherent limitations are tools that we are going to see more and more of. Another example is [...]

Devices That Augment Human Capabilities

One of the trends we’ve seen coming is the use of prosthetics to augment human abilities. MedGadget has a report on one of the newer developments in this area – an unpowered exoskeleton designed to allow industrial workers to hold heavy tools for long periods of time. There have been a number of stories in [...]

Brain Research

Researchers at Sweden’s Lund University have been able to develop a flexible electrode that can be safely implanted in the brain and capture signals from single neurons. The electrode material is so flexible that it bends against the surface of water. The researchers were able to implant the electrode by encasing it in a rigid [...]

Ambient User Experience

This blog often speculates on what the future of medical device design might be, and what might influence it. An article from Kurzweilai.net about technology trends for 2016 includes an interesting concept. Paraphrased from the article: “The device mesh1 creates the foundation for a new continuous and ambient user experience (emphasis mine). Immersive environments delivering [...]

Optogenetics Advance

A story from MedGadget highlights the continuing advances that optogenetics is making. The optogenetics procedure involves using light to stimulate genetically altered neurons. Until now, research efforts have been hampered by the need to tether laboratory test animals to fiber optic cables in order to deliver the light stimulus. Stanford University researchers have now developed [...]

Is energy-harvesting technology for wearables hard-boiled or hype?

As I wrote in May, the biggest constraint in any kind of medical device design today is battery technology, which has not kept pace with the progressive aspects of medical devices. But energy-harvesting technologies for use in wearable designs show promise, in spite of four key engineering challenges: 1) the power they generate; 2) how [...]

Brain-controlled Prosthetics

One of the most exciting developments in medicine and science is the possibility for humans to be able to control computers with their minds. In fact, it’s no longer just a possibility, it is actually being done. The NY Times recently had an article about an armless man who can control a pair of robotic, [...]

Medical Devices in 2-Dimensions.

Several weeks ago, I wrote about how medical devices will be transitioning from 3-dimensional objects to 2-dimensional ones. The latest news in this area comes from UC San Diego, where researchers have developed enzyme-based inks that can be used to create low-cost, wearable sensors. The inks can be applied using a ball point pen. Also in [...]

The Future of Surgery

MedGadget reports on a surgical instrument developed by engineers at Vanderbilt University that is introduced into the body via a single incision and is controlled by a series of magnets. I believe this represents one of the first proofs of where surgical devices are headed: tiny robotic instruments that perform surgical procedures after being injected [...]

The Next Big Thing

I have been writing quite often recently about how medical research is focusing more and more on the brain. There is yet another story that highlights this trend. But there is another, more intriguing aspect to the story that portends a different impact. Via MedGadget, we learn that the company, NeuroVigil, has partnered with the American [...]

Imaging Single Neurons

  Each image is of the same exact neurons of a genetically defined group of cells. But some (left) fire while mice search for food; others (right) fire while the mice eat food. (credit: Garret Stuber, PhD) I believe that research into how the brain works is going to be a major focus [...]

Advanced Materials, the Brain and Optogenetics

“New fibers can deliver many simultaneous stimuli. Implanted into the brain or spinal column, they can transmit drugs, light, and electrical signals.” MIT scientists have developed a process by which they can produce flexible, multi-channeled polymer fibers that could simultaneously deliver drugs and optical and electrical signals. The polymer itself has characteristics that resemble human neural [...]

What Will Drive the 21st Century?

I have written on a number of occasions about Optogenetics and its promise for medicine. Here is another story, via Medgadget, that reports on advances in the field. In summary, scientists were able to use optogenetic techniques – which allows light to stimulate specific brain neurons – to induce REM sleep in mice. How might these advances [...]

EY Medical Technology Report: a Critique

Ernst & Young has been taking the pulse of the medical technology industry for several years, and has issued a report annually that discusses their findings. The 2014 report highlights the shift toward valuing better patient outcomes over other criteria. They also emphasize that one of the most important procurement metrics is going to be [...]

Medicine’s New Frontier

There is increasing activity involving research into how the brain works. The knowledge we gain as this research proceeds will have significant implications for medical device design and development. The latest news on this front is from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. They have received a grant from the National Institutes of Health to develop a neural [...]

Mind to Mind Communication

During the past several years, there has been a significant amount of research conducted on brain/computer interfaces. I have written about several programs that are seeking to enable computers and mechanical systems to be controlled by thought alone. The latest development comes from a report at Kurzweil.com. Studies are being done that allow thoughts to [...]

Why 3D Printing Deserves its Hype

3-dimensional printing is one of the current big trends. You can now buy a 3D printer in some big-box stores and use it to print things in your home – toys, coffee cups, and whatever else you want to put a design together for. The consensus in the press is that 3D printing is going [...]

Big Medical Data

MIT Technology review recently reported how Express Scripts scoured data from doctor’soffices, pharmacies, and laboratories to detect patterns that might alert doctors to potential patient issues. They say they can predict twelve months in advance and with 98 percent accuracy whether a particular patient will be compliant with their medication regimen. If doctors know who [...]

Medical Device Future: the Hope and the Hype

I have been following new developments in the medical device space for a number of years. In that time, I have written about many technologies that have the potential to revolutionize medicine. Yet few of those technologies have been able to be commercially realized. Are these potential breakthroughs promising more than they can actually deliver? [...]

3D Material that Behaves Like Graphene

Graphene is the miracle material that has proven difficult to commercialize for practical purposes. There are a number of approaches under way that hope to accomplish that. But now, Nature Materials (via Kurzweil.net) reports about a new form of cadmium arsenide that has electrical properties similar to graphene but which might be easier to put to [...]

The Beginning of the Age of Bionics

One of the future trends I've written about has to do with sensors that will be implanted in the body. A recent article in phys.org  reports on how scientists have engineered a protein that changes shape when it attaches to glucose. Incorporated into an implantable device, the protein could be used to monitor blood glucose [...]

Using Light to Detect Glucose Levels

There is a lot of research underway into finding an effective and practical way to monitor blood glucose levels non-invasively. Medicalnewstoday.com reports on a paper authored by researchers at Israel’s Bar-ilan University and published in the journal Biomedical Optics Express. The Bar-ilan researchers have developed a device that uses a laser to generate a wavefront of [...]

Biological/Computer Hybrid Thinking

Famed futurist, Ray Kurzweil, recently gave a TED talk in which he discussed his theory of how the brain works and how we will soon be able to augment our thinking by harnessing vast computing power in the Cloud. Rays timeline predicts that in the next ten years, search engines will be based on reading [...]

Glucose Monitoring Implant

I have written on previous occasions how sensing technologies will take the form of implanted devices (among others). The latest development on this topic comes from Sensionics . They are developing a small sensor designed to be implanted subcutaneously in the upper arm to detect blood glucose levels. From the Sensionics site: “Encased in a biocompatible [...]

How About a Wearable Liver?

Nature Communications  has an article about new technology for filtering toxins that could lead to novel medical devices. Researchers Maling Gou & Xin Qu of Sichuan University, China explain in the paper they authored how they used nanoparticles to capture toxins in a 3D-printed hydrogel nanocomposite matrix. Nanoparticles can be injected for detoxification but the [...]

The Ultimate Wearable

A company called OMsignal  is coming out with a line of compression shirts that incorporate electrodes woven into the fabric. OMsignal claims the shirt will be able to track movement, respiration and heart activity. Another company, Hexoskin has a similar product already on the market. According to a blurb on their website, "They envision a future [...]

Medical Device Future: Point-of-Care Diagnostics

Testing and diagnosis is moving out of the lab and to the point-of-care. One recent example of this is the device that QuantuMDx is developing: a handheld molecular diagnostic and sequencing device to deliver rapid disease diagnosis at the point-of-care. Their goal is to enable routine real-time personalized medicine with a simple device that can deliver DNA [...]

Automatic Nutrition Tracking

The company, DataArt, is developing technology that will take an image of the food you eat and look up the calorie content. This approach is a logical next step in passive acquisition of caloric data, but it seems inelegant and cumbersome. With the advances in sensor technology that are taking place, it shouldn't be long until [...]

Skin Conductance and the Future of Wearable Sensors

Tiny increases in sweat gland production translate into large changes in skin conductance. This phenomenon is being used to study the medical implication of increased sweat production. Rosalind Picard, of MIT, has been using data from body-worn sensors to measure and correlate emotional states. Understanding emotion has significant possibilities for the treatment of autism, depression [...]

Dematerializing Medical Devices

A few weeks ago I posted a blog about the future of medical product development  and how many medical devices would become “dematerialized” and take the form of implantables, injectables and electronic stickers. Now comes word that a device is being developed in the form of a bandage  that would incorporate strain gauges, a heating [...]

Wearable Sensors and Fitness Trackers

Recently, New York Times journalist, Albert Sun, published an article about his experience with fitness tracking devices. His original idea was to compare various trackers to see which ones were the most accurate. He realized that the compelling aspect of such trackers was not in the data they accumulated and how accurate that data was, but [...]

Medical Product Development and the Future

Patient accountability/partnership will become the norm. Preventative care and early diagnosis will be the focus. Biometric data tracking will be used to establish a “digital you” against which predictive models can be run to forecast health risk so preventative measures can be taken. Everything will be connected and interactive. Surgical intervention will become increasingly minimally invasive. Nano robots [...]

Optogenetics

Optogenetics is one of the most interesting and promising of the new technologies in science and medicine. It involves modifying DNA with genes that make light-sensitive proteins. Modifying neurons in this way makes them react when energized by light. Most experimentation to date has focused on understanding how neural systems work and how they might [...]

Non-Invasive Testing Using Sound

Non-invasive testing is a growing trend in medical device design and development. A new technique that uses sound to detect the presence of malaria has been developed by Drs. Dmitri Lapotko and Ekaterina Lukianova-Hleb and a team of  researchers at Rice University What the researchers at Rice have been able to do is to use a [...]

Iphone Diagnostics

Medical devices that use smart phones as part of their base technology are becoming more prevalent. And we are seeing more such devices being marketed to consumers, not just to the scientific community. This trend will be a boon for those in medical device design. One of the latest devices in development makes use of [...]

The Constantly Monitored Man

My last post was about medical devices in the form of adhesive patches. With sensors growing smaller and more ubiquitous in our lives, it stands to reason that we will soon be able to keep track of our vital physiological processes constantly and over a long period of time. Because we’ll have a vast data [...]

Patchwork Medical Devices

Flexible electronics and batteries point to a future in which many medical devices and body-worn monitors will come in the form of disposable adhesive patches. How will medical device design change in response? For medical device designers, the control and feedback components of such devices will be the important area to focus on. Wireless communication [...]

A Lab in Your Home

We have written on a number of occasions how it is becoming more common for medical devices to be used at home, instead of in the hospital or clinic. That trend appears to be occurring in the lab test area as well. Here is a story about a company developing a device that will allow [...]

Video in Medical Device Product Development

Medical device product development will be utilizing advanced video technology and analysis algorithms to eliminate invasive methods of medical testing and vital sign monitoring. A clue to this future comes from the world of video gaming. The latest generation of Microsoft’s Kinect motion sensing system incorporates technology that allows it to measure your heartbeat via [...]

Intelligent Medical Devices

Here is a story from Medgadget about a device that helps people perform perfect chest compressions when performing CPR. We are seeing sensors being incorporated into many devices. Mostly they’re being used to monitor various processes and collect data for later analysis and feedback. The Physio-Control device suggests ways that sensors in devices can give [...]

Brain Work

The trend in medicine is away from the heart and toward the brain. We are seeing significantly increased interest and research into how the brain functions and how we might be able to repair neurons and nerve pathways to restore abilities lost to injury or aging. The Obama Administration’s proposal to map the brain is [...]

The Hits Keep On Coming

I have written on a number of occasions about medical device technology being coupled with smart phones to provide their functionality. Medgadget  has a story about a device that turns an iphone into a fluorescent microscope or flow cytometer. Scientific technology piggybacking on smart phone functionality is one of the strongest trends I see in [...]

Thinking About Electronic Tattoos

Last week I wrote about the medical device technology I think will advance in 2013. Two of those areas are flexible electronics and controlling devices with our thoughts. Well, how about combining those two ideas? Business Insider reports on just this scenario. Work is being done by MC10 and by NorthwesternUniversity and University of Illinois – [...]

Looking at 2013

In previous posts, we have taken a look at general trends in medical device design and medical technology. What about the near term future of 2013? In the coming year, I think we’ll see a lot of news regarding: Devices that attach to smart phones. Devices in development that incorporate flexible electronics. Progress in the [...]

Will Medical Device Design and Development be Led by Hospitals?

A number of hospital systems are establishing centers to help launch med-tech startups. The Cleveland Clinic is a pioneer in this area, with their Innovations Center. St Joseph Health has just launched the Innovation Institute, the heart of which is the Innovation Lab, which will incubate inventions that have come from the health system’s staff. [...]

Personal Diagnostic Devices

Smart phones are becoming ubiquitous. Devices that attach to smart phones are being developed by more and more companies. In the medical device field, a number of such products have been released in the past year. As this trend progresses, I believe we will see the advent of personal diagnostic devices. That is, lab-on-a-chip devices [...]

More Advances in Mind Control

Technology that allows computers and even mechanical devices to be controlled by thought is advancing at a remarkable pace. The latest development comes out of the University of Pittsburgh , where a woman with quadriplegia has been able to control a robotic hand via her thoughts, an implanted electrode grid, and an algorithm that translates [...]

Medical Devices as Part of Our Environment

The trend right now is toward wearable sensors and medical devices that can monitor our physiology, enabling us to reach health goals and warn of impending health problems. This is the next stop on the way toward technology that we don’t carry around with us at all, but that is part of our environment. There [...]

Technology Divorced From Form

Misfit Wearables  will be coming out with a fitness tracking device in 2013 that is more or less a piece of jewelry with technology inside. The device tracks your movement (running, cycling, swimming, etc.) but the only feedback it provides is via a series of small led’s that tell you how far you’ve progressed in [...]

Energy Parasites

Oregon State University reports that they have developed a technology that allows them to integrate multiple sensors onto a single microchip. The sensors replace what are currently large components in devices such as body-worn pedometers and fitness trackers. Rather than large, expensive, power-hungry devices, the OSU technology could accomplish the same sensing function in a postage [...]

Human-Powered Medical Devices

In medical product development, one of the most significant challenges involves satisfying the power requirements of devices. This is particularly so with implantable devices, where replacing batteries requires a medical procedure. There are several intriguing technologies that are being researched to see if power can be provided by the human body’s own systems to drive [...]

Optical Glucose Monitoring Now a Reality

Medical device design is at the forefront of commercializing radical new technologies.  A little over two years ago, we posted about new technologies that were being developed to monitor blood glucose levels non-invasively . Now, C8 MediSensors,  has incorporated one of those technologies – Raman Spectroscopy – into a device that has received CE approval. [...]

Medical Device Development and Nanotechnology

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 [...]

Non-invasive Sensing Using Microelectronics

Medical product design is going to be impacted greatly by new technologies that are being developed to allow non-invasive testing and monitoring of things that now require finger sticks, blood draws, and other unpleasantries. We’ve written in the past about various technologies that use light,  and microneedle sensors, to accomplish this. Now, microelectronics are also [...]

Instant Diagnostics

A promising area of medical technology is emerging in which medical device design will be able to make a major contribution. We’re seeing a number of companies that are working on technologies that enable nearly instant diagnostic test results. Epocal is one, Abbott is another. Most of the focus seems to be on bedside administration, where treatment [...]

Algorithm Method

Medical device product development is advancing with the help of sophisticated computational algorithms that translate signals detected by non-invasive electrical and optical sensors into meaningful health data and images. We’ve written before about how computing power is being used to augment  and magnify the relatively crude information that current sensing technology can gather. Reflectance Medical [...]

Trends in Elder Care

Medical product design will be faced with many challenges as the U.S. population ages. There are trends that suggest that remote monitoring via sensor systems, care at home, and virtual coaching will all be areas in which there will be significant opportunity for innovative medical product design to have an impact. The trend toward care [...]

Medical Device Development and Data

  Medical device development will increasingly be driven by the growing amount of health data that is being generated. Even companies not traditionally in the device industry are realizing that they too will be impacted by the data deluge: For Craig Lipset, Head of Clinical Innovation for Pfizer, the future of pharmaceutical companies lies in [...]

The Data Driving Retail Healthcare

Continuing on the subject of health data – which was the big theme at the 2012 CONVERGE Summit for Healthcare Innovation – Brandon Rowberry, VP of  Innovation Development at UnitedHealth Group, made the point that the challenge for innovators in the medical device and healthcare fields will be in digesting the mountain of health data [...]

Engaging the Innovation Ecosystem

According to Dr. David B. Nash, Dean of the Jefferson School of Population Health, the healthcare economy is changing from one that encourages service volume to one that encourages better health outcomes. His mantra for the future is, “no outcome, no income”. This was the gist of Dr. Nash’s talk at the 2012 CONVERGE Summit [...]

Convergence Worth Investing In

What are the most promising avenues for medtech investors? That was the question discussed by a panel of entrepreneurs and venture investors at the 2012 CONVERGE Summit for Healthcare Innovation. It seems that medical product design could become dominated by software. Echoing the conference's overall theme of data, the big players are looking for digital [...]

Telemedicine at CONVERGE 2012

Telemedicine will be a fertile area for medical product design. The two biggest challenges in telemedicine right now are the difficulty in getting reimbursement for telehealth services and barriers created by inadequate cross-state licensing. From the Telemedicine breakout session at CONVERGE 2012: It’s difficult to get reimbursement for telemedicne practice because its benefits are as [...]

Medtech 2020

What will be driving healthcare innovation in the coming years? According to Kevin Schimelfenig, Dr. Ken Riff, Kem Hawkins and Richard Russo, panelists at the 2012 CONVERGE Summit for Healthcare Innovation, this: Innovation is needed in the process of care delivery. There are opportunities for big improvements in access, cost and quality. Markets outside the [...]

Avast, Ye Scurvy Dogs!

In the days when the sea was the best means of traveling long distances, the economic success of a country was heavily dependent on the geographical reach of their maritime trade and of their navy. Scurvy was one of the biggest killers aboard ship and limited the time a sailor could remain at sea. Finding [...]

CONVERGE: Healthcare Innovation, part 2

The future of medical device design lies in harnessing the massive amounts of health data that will be generated in the coming years. Other take-aways from the 2012 CONVERGE Summitfor Healthcare Innovation: Business models will need to change. Healthcare players are moving to expand their reach within the continuum of care. Improving patient outcomes: all [...]

CONVERGE: Healthcare Innovation, part 1

Data. That was the overarching theme of the CONVERGE Summit for Healthcare Innovation held in Philadelphia on July 10th. This quote from Dr. Ken Riff of Medtronic struck me in particular: “ data will be the healthcare currency of the future”. What implications does this have for medical device design? It will take time to [...]

CONVERGE: Healthcare Innovation

If you want to know where those at the forefront of the rapidly changing healthcare landscape see both disruption and opportunity, check back here. I am just returned from the CONVERGE Summit for Healthcare Innovation presented in Philadelphia by MedCity News. The agenda was jam-packed with excellent speakers and panel discussions about exciting developments and trends [...]

Sensors and Significance

The use of body-worn sensors to monitor physiology and provide usable feedback to individuals is still very new. Most of the devices we’ve seen so far track such things as heart rate, body temperature, respiration rate and calories burned and are used mostly as athletic training aids and weight-loss aids. Now, Orpyx is working to release [...]

Brain-Computer Interface

Controlling computers using the electrical impulses from your brain seems to be making advances. PSFK  reports on two companies, Emotive Systems  and NeuroSky,  that have developed headsets that allow users to control video games with their thoughts. The actions the devices allow are at present very limited, but indicates that the technology is definitely moving [...]

Taking Charge

Taking responsibility for your own well being is going to be almost mandatory in the future. No longer will we have the luxury of being passive consumers of healthcare managed and directed by others. Preventative healthcare will be extremely important. We will need to be active participants in our own care, and we will need [...]

Data-enhanced Imaging

New information out of the University of Pittsburgh reinforces what we have been saying about enhanced imaging techniques: computer analysis will be used to augment imaging technologies to provide far greater clarity than we can achieve presently. The technique being developed at Pitt uses algorithms that analyze MRI scans to create brain images of neuron [...]

A Systems Approach to Health Care

Microsoft and GE recently announced partnership in their “Caradigm” venture, scheduled to launch in 2012. From the press release: “Caradigm will be aimed at driving a paradigm shift in the delivery of care by enabling health systems and professionals to use real-time, systemwide intelligence to improve healthcare quality and the patient experience. Upon formation, the [...]

What Health Care Will Look Like

In the coming years, we will be hearing a lot about coordination of care. Two recent items highlight this trend. First, is the concept of the patient-centered medical home (PCMH). Basically, the PMCH model calls for each patient to be under the care of a personal physician who is responsible for coordinating that patient’s care [...]

Imaging Update

Last year I wrote about how new technologies combined with software data enhancement will revolutionize medical imaging. A new development in this area comes out of Imperial College London and the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR). Scientists there have found a way to make electromagnetic terahertz waves (T-rays) much stronger while requiring less [...]

Genome Sequencing Update

In a post last year we noted that the cost of sequencing an individual’s genome was expected to drop to $100 and take less than ten minutes. We’re not there yet, but Life Technologies has announced that they will be introducing an instrument in 2012 that can sequence a genome for $1000 and do it [...]

Go State!

Real-time monitoring of body chemistry using microneedle sensors might be coming soon, thanks to researchers at North Carolina State (ok, more accurately, the Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of North Carolina and North Carolina State University), Sandia National Laboratories and University of California, San Diego. The press release explains that an array of hollow [...]

This is Just Cool

This one doesn’t have much to do with medical device design per se (other than enabling you to imagine how far and how quickly robotic surgery will be advancing), it’s just cool. Check out this video at Medgadget.

Non-Invasive Sensing

Medical device design continues to benefit from advances in sensor technology. A sample of recent news: Everest Genomics recently announced that it will be releasing its CardioDefender diagnostic system: a wrist-worn ECG sensor device that communicates wirelessly with a smartphone. The system will allow real-time, long-term monitoring to detect, analyze and report heart arrhythmias. BAM Labs [...]

MedTech 2011, Part 2

My second big take-away from Ibiliti’s 2011 Medtech conference was from remarks given by Dr. Ralph Snyderman, Cancellor Emeritus for Health Affairs, Duke University School of Medicine. Dr. Snyderman spoke about how, within ten years, the delivery of medical care will be vastly different than it is today. This has huge implications for medical device [...]

MedTech 2011, Part 1

If you’re involved in medical device design, the annual Medtech conference put on by Ibiliti is a great forum for learning about current issues in the field. Their 2011 conference was held on November 1st and 2nd in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. This year’s event was again very informative, with a good cross-section of speakers [...]

More Developments in Wireless Monitoring

Development of technology for the wireless monitoring of vital signs and other physiological data continues to be a strong trend. The Universidad Carlos III de Madrid reports that scientists there have created an “intelligent” t-shirt that monitors temperature, heart rate, activity level and body position (standing, sitting, reclining). The shirt also embodies a localized GPS, [...]

Non-Invasive Detection Using Light

I wrote previously about a technology being developed at MIT that uses infra-red light to detect blood glucose. Now, Northeastern University is working on a technology that binds nanoparticles to a target chemical when injected into the skin. They can then use LED light and an iPhone to read the nanoparticles when they fluoresce. The [...]

Mind Control

A couple of exciting recent developments will have a big impact on medical device design in the future: The technology surrounding brain-computer interface seems to be advancing quickly. Toyota has a project in which they are using a bike helmet equipped with EEG sensors to identify the brain signals associated with a bycicle rider thinking [...]

The Medical Device Future

Medical imaging will have advanced immensely. We will be able to isolate and visualize physiological functioning in real time. Blood flow, gastrointestinal processes, even synaptic firing in the brain will all be able to be seen, analyzed and evaluated. Genetic analysis will allow people to focus preventative care on their individual aspects of greatest risk. [...]

P4 Future

P4 Medicine – Predictive, Preventative, Personalized, Participatory – is where healthcare is headed. In the near term, as the bulk of the population ages, there will still be a large portion of the industry devoted to treating disease. But more and more of medicine’s focus will be on neutralizing problems before they occur. Advances in [...]

Future Trends

Last week I wrote about the highlights from the FutureMed conference. Looking through the list, four overall trends emerge: Information technology for health. Personalized medicine. Control over biology. Targeted therapy. What do these trends mean for medical device design? First, medical devices that have any interaction with patients will need to be able to collect [...]

Highlights from FutureMed

                  The FutureMed conference was recently held outside of San Francisco. MedGadget has a more detailed synopsis, but here are the bullet points regarding the incredible technologies that will transform medicine in the not-to-distant future: Information technology will be playing an increasingly improtant role in medicine. Being [...]

The Imaging Revolution

Advancements in imaging technologies combined with the ability of computers to filter and enhance raw image data is creating a revolution in medical imaging. We are beginning to see techniques that provide realistic views of physical systems, organs and even cellular processes. Imagine being able to isolate a portion of a patient’s vascular system, see [...]

The Value Proposition

We attended the Medtech 2010 conference in Durham this week. The most important thing we took away was the opinion, expressed by several presenters, that the overall value a medical device delivers is becoming a more important consideration than simply its cost. In other words, medical devices that deliver better health outcomes in relation to [...]

Data Enhancement

Last week we spoke about a new development in blood glucose sensing that uses infra-red light combined with a software algorithm that calibrates the signal. Using software to interpret, amplify and enhance instrument-acquired signals will become more common in imaging applications. Look to this kind of technology to have significant impact on future imaging devices [...]

The Future of Blood Glucose Sensing

Sticking your finger with a lancet will be a thing of the past. Non-invasive sensing will be a relatively near-term reality. One technology being developed at MIT is Raman spectroscopy, which uses infra-red light as a measurement collector. Read more about it here: http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2010/glucose-monitor-0809.html Another technology being developed at the University of Washington utilizes nanoscale [...]

Preparing for the Future

What are the emerging trends in healthcare, and how can medical device designers prepare for them? Sustainability. There will be a drive to reduce waste in all areas of health care delivery. Reducing packaging and moving away from disposables and back to re-usables will become the mantra. Self-care. The high cost of conventional modes of [...]