News

Creating the Future: Wearable Bands Offer Continuous Blood-Pressure Measurement

The pneumatic cuff, a device traditionally used to measure blood pressure, has had a prominent place in doctors' offices for more than a century. As part of a year-long fellowship at Northwestern University, two clinicians and two engineers teamed up to develop a new way of measuring blood pressure: cuffless, wearable wristbands.

Posted in: News, News, Medical, Patient Monitoring
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Will UAVs improve how we monitor the environment?

This week's Question: Last week's TechBriefs.com story from the SPIE Defense + Commercial Sensing 2017 conference in Anaheim revealed new ways of detecting leaks in natural gas pipelines. Panelists from industry, academia, and government demonstrated how miniaturized sensing platforms, and the unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) hosting them, can improve the detection of hazardous gas leakage. What do you think? Will UAVs improve how we monitor the environment?

Posted in: Question of the Week, Aerospace, Aviation, Fiber Optics, Lasers & Laser Systems, Optical Components, Optics, Photonics, Data Acquisition, Sensors
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Q&A: Photonics Breakthrough 'Tunes' Wireless Communications

A chip-scale optical device, developed by a team from the University of Sydney’s Australian Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology, achieves radio frequency signal control at sub-nanosecond time scales. The photonics breakthrough has the potential to provide broader bandwidth instantaneously to more users.

Posted in: News, Communications, Optical Components, Optics, Photonics
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Silver Bullet Against MRSA: Silver Ion-coated Devices

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections are caused by a type of staph bacteria that has become resistant to the antibiotics used to treat ordinary staph infections. The rise of MRSA infections is limiting the treatment options for physicians and surgeons. Now, an international team of researchers, led by Elizabeth Loboa, dean of the University of Missouri College of Engineering, has used silver ion-coated scaffolds, or biomaterials that are created to hold stem cells, which slow the spread of or kill MRSA while regenerating new bone. Scientists feel that the biodegradable and biocompatible scaffolds could be the first step in the fight against MRSA in patients.

Posted in: News, News, Medical
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Devices Enhance Treatment for Cardiovascular Problems

Two medical devices approved by the FDA within the past year – a miniaturized pacemaker that doesn't have any wires and a coronary stent that gradually dissolves in the body – are showing promise as effective treatments for people with certain heart and vascular problems.

The new pacemaker, called the Micra Transcatheter Pacing System, is just an inch long, about one-tenth the size of traditional devices, and is the first "leadless" pacemaker to be approved for use in the United States.

Posted in: News, News, Medical
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Study Looks at Powering Medical Implants With Solar Cells

The notion of using solar cells placed under the skin to continuously recharge implanted electronic medical devices is a viable one. Swiss researchers have done the math and found that a 3.6 square centimeter solar cell is all that is needed to generate enough power during winter and summer to power a typical pacemaker. The study is the first to provide real-life data about the potential of using solar cells to power devices such as pacemakers and deep brain stimulators. According to lead author Lukas Bereuter of Bern University Hospital and the University of Bern in Switzerland, wearing power-generating solar cells under the skin will one day save patients the discomfort of having to continuously undergo procedures to change the batteries of such life-saving devices.

Posted in: News, News, Medical
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G-putty Innovation for Medical Devices and Diagnostics

Graphene Flagship researchers from Trinity College Dublin, working with the National Graphene Institute (NGI) at the University of Manchester, have used graphene to make the novelty children's material Silly Putty® (polysilicone) conduct electricity. Using this conductive polymer, they found that they were able to create extremely sensitive sensors.

Posted in: News, News, Medical
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Will shape memory polymers play a prominent role in non-aerospace applications?

This week's Question: A featured Tech Brief in today's INSIDER highlighted a shape memory polymer from Langley Research Center. Designed initially for morphing spacecraft, the material changes shape when temperature shifts; the thermosetting polymer than returns to its original form once normal conditions are reached. The technology may also have applications in self-deployable structures, smart armors, intelligent medical devices, and other various morphing structures. What do you think? Will shape memory polymers play a prominent role in non-aerospace applications?

Posted in: Question of the Week, Materials
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Report from SPIE 2017: Drones Spot Gas Leaks from the Sky

ANAHEIM, CA. During last week’s SPIE Defense + Commercial Sensing 2017 conference, panelists from industry, academia, and government demonstrated how miniaturized sensing platforms, and the unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) hosting them, can improve the detection of hazardous gas leakage.

Posted in: News, News, Aerospace, Aviation, Detectors, Sensors
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Will 3D printing of tissue revolutionize healthcare?

This week’s Question: Our lead stories today featured interviews with Chuck Hull, inventor of the 3D printer, and industry expert Terry Wohlers. Though the medical applications for additive manufacturing are still in their early stages, organizations around the world have printed both hard and soft tissue.

"The idea is that if you lose a finger, or have a damaged liver or heart, living cells are taken from you and used to produce the replacement," said Wohlers in the Tech Briefs Q&A. "I think someday, perhaps in our lifetime, we’ll be able to benefit from a more fully developed version of this technology."

What do you think? Will 3D printing of tissue revolutionize healthcare?

Posted in: Question of the Week, Consumer Product Manufacturing, Custom & Contract Manufacturing, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Rapid Prototyping & Tooling, Implants & Prosthetics
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