Health, Medicine, & Biotechnology

Wireless Tags Quickly Provide Details About Orthopedic Implants

A non-invasive system employing radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology is designed to give physicians easy access to information about implants and patients. Radio-frequency technology that uses human tissue instead of air as a conduit for radio waves is the basis of the first electronic “tag” system designed to track and monitor orthopedic implants. A 2009 RAND Corporation (Europe) technical report found that RFID technology offers several advantages to medical care in such areas as wireless data transfer and patient/object identification, and as a sensor.

Posted in: Bio-Medical, Implants & Prosthetics, Medical, Orthopedics, RF & Microwave Electronics, Briefs, MDB


New Thermal Management Strategies for Medical Devices

Heat pipes and vapor chambers are being utilized to address challenging thermal management requirements. In an increasing number of medical device applications, thermal issues limit the overall performance and reliability of the system. Basic thermal management strategies such as liquid cold plates, air cooled heat sinks, and thermal interface materials are becoming insufficient as stand-alone solutions. In many new medical applications, implementation of advanced thermal technologies such as heat pipes and vapor chambers are becoming an integral part of the thermal management solution. These technologies offer excellent heat transfer and heat spreading performance. Furthermore, they are passive (no energy, no moving parts), quiet, and reliable. Several medical devices, such as powered surgical forceps, skin/tissue contacting devices, and polymerase chain reaction (PCR)/thermocyclers already use these technologies, and more applications are emerging. A discussion of heat pipe and vapor chamber operation and selected medical device applications follows.

Posted in: Bio-Medical, Thermal Management, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Medical, Briefs, MDB


Improving Balance Function Using Low Levels of Electrical Stimulation of the Balance Organs

A device based on this technology may be used as a miniature patch worn by people with disabilities to improve posture and locomotion, and to enhance adaptability or skill acquisition. Crewmembers returning from long-duration space flight face significant challenges due to the microgravity-induced inappropriate adaptations in balance/sensorimotor function. The Neuroscience Laboratory at JSC is developing a method based on stochastic resonance to enhance the brain’s ability to detect signals from the balance organs of the inner ear and use them for rapid improvement in balance skill, especially when combined with balance training exercises. This method involves a stimulus delivery system that is wearable/portable and provides imperceptible electrical stimulation to the balance organs of the human body.

Posted in: Bio-Medical, Rehabilitation & Physical Therapy, Medical, Briefs, MDB


Guidelines for Thermoplastic Color Control and Change Management

In order to make good color specifications, the OEM should gain an understanding of color technology, color measurement, and methods available to control color. Color is an important factor in many aspects of medical devices, from design to how the device is used and by whom. In 2010, the FDA and regulatory bodies around the world increased their scrutiny of colors as additives in all materials and are paying special attention to the biologic testing performed on pigments used in plastic in an effort to reduce potential safety risks.

Posted in: Bio-Medical, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Plastics, FDA Compliance/Regulatory Affairs, Medical, Briefs, MDB


SFDC/DHR Interface Systems Add Parametric Data to Support Medical Manufacturers

Access to parametric data allows OEMs to monitor device performance throughout production, and is particularly useful for new product introduction. In this era of ever more stringent FDA oversight and regulations, the responsibility for vigilance falls on medical manufacturers and their manufacturing partners or customers. Those companies that support a “best practices” medical manufacturing environment often rely on a shop floor data collection (SFDC) system that embeds attributive data in each unit’s device history record (DHR). More recent advances allow for parametric, or performance, data to be captured as well, so that not only can the medical device’s progress through the manufacturing process be monitored, the device’s quality of performance at each stage can also be assessed. Access to this data facilitates timely decision- making, ensuring the highest quality medical product, and saving money due to reduced downtime, scrap and/or repair work.

Posted in: Bio-Medical, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Data Acquisition, FDA Compliance/Regulatory Affairs, Medical, Briefs, MDB


EyeBrain Tracker for Early Diagnosis and Monitoring of Neurological Disease

This medical device includes a computer with two screens, a helmet, three software programs, and a recording device for taking eye movement measurements. The EyeBrain Tracker (EBT) is an eyetracking medical device, which uses algorithms to accurately track eye movements for the diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis. The brain uses many different areas to produce eye movements, so if an area of the brain does not function well, the eye movements it controls will produce an abnormal behavior.

Posted in: Bio-Medical, Medical, Diagnostics, Briefs, MDB


Optical Manufacturing Guidelines for Medical OEMs

With careful planning, system integrators can select the optimal optics, filters, light sources, and cameras for their medical diagnostic instrumentation. Custom integration of original equipment manufacturer (OEM) products can be complex, particularly for medical device integrators that build diagnostic instruments incorporating numerous optical components. Often, objective lenses, illumination sources, and imaging detectors are assembled and custom-mounted into finished instruments. Such components must not only meet stringent performance requirements, but often have to meet established Food and Drug Administration (FDA) standards.

Posted in: Bio-Medical, Photonics, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Medical, Briefs, MDB


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