Photokina 2014 highlights

Implant

The 3D-printed implant that has given a once wheelchair-consigned teenager the ability to ...

Much of the fanfare surrounding 3D printing has centered on its enabling consumers to create objects themselves, potentially circumventing traditional production models. Alongside NBA figurines and 3D printed pizza, however, the technology continues to provide valuable solutions in the field of medicine. Mobelife, a Belgium-based implant design company, has 3D printed a custom hip implant and given a once wheelchair-consigned teenager the ability to walk on her own.  Read More

The prototype MEDIC device

Figuring out how much medication a patient should be taking can be a tricky business. Although things like age and weight are used as guidelines, factors such as the individual person's metabolism can have a marked effect on how effective the drugs are. With that in mind, scientists at the University of California, Santa Barbara have developed an implantable device that provides continuous real-time readings on how much medication is currently in a person's bloodstream.  Read More

Researchers at ETH Zurich have created ultra thin, clear and flexible circuitry

Researchers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETH Zurich) have created clear, flexible electronic circuitry that is so thin it can sit upon the surface of a contact lens, or be wrapped around a human hair. The research, led by Dr. Giovanni Salvatore, could ultimately be used for implantable medical devices. One such potential application suggested by the team is a “smart contact lens” that could monitor intraocular pressure for glaucoma patients.  Read More

Renderings of an implanted Carmat artificial heart

Last Wednesday in Paris, a 75 year-old man received an artificial heart. That in itself might not be newsworthy, as such devices have been in use since the early 80s. In this case, however, the gadget in question was the first Carmat bioprosthetic artificial heart to ever be implanted in a human. According to its inventor, cardiac surgeon Alain Carpentier, it's the world's first self-regulating artificial heart.  Read More

Genetically modified cells implanted in the body monitor the blood-fat level and produce a...

Most who have tried it would agree that dieting is a generally unpleasant, and an oftentimes ineffective way to lose weight in the long-term. The biggest hurdle for many is the constant hunger that comes from a change in their regular diet. Biotechnologists at ETH-Zurich have created a genetic helper that could one day put an end to the hunger pangs.  Read More

Scientists have created a collagen-based patch that uses synthetic DNA to stimulate bone g...

Help could be on the way for people who don't have enough bone to support dental implants, who are missing bone due to a birth defect, or who have suffered bone-damaging injuries. Scientists at the University of Iowa have created an implantable collagen patch seeded with particles containing synthetic DNA, that instructs the patient's own cells to produce the protein that leads to bone growth.  Read More

The Nanostim pacemaker, with a Euro coin for scale

Ordinarily, a pacemaker is surgically implanted below the collarbone, where it sits in a sizable pocket under the skin. Electrical leads run from it to the heart, allowing it to monitor the rhythm of the heartbeat, and deliver electrical pulses to adjust that rhythm as needed. Now, however, Minnesota-based St. Jude Medical has announced upcoming availability of "the world’s first and only commercially available leadless pacemaker." Known as the Nanostim, it's reportedly less than 10 percent the size of a regular pacemaker, and is inserted directly into the heart via a minimally-invasive procedure.  Read More

Experiments suggest that electrodes implanted in the sensory cortex of the brain can simul...

It's something most of us take for granted, but our sense of touch is every bit as useful to us as our sight and hearing. Though it seems simple, picking up and holding an object requires nearly instantaneous sensation in the parts of our hands and fingers in contact with the desired object, as well as a sense of the pressure we're applying. Many experimental efforts to simulate a sense of touch in amputees fitted with prosthetics require the subject to learn new associations between touching an object and some abstract sensation. But new research at the University of Chicago suggests that it is possible to map the individual finger pads of a prosthetic hand to the corresponding parts of the brain. In other words, prosthetic hands which offer a realistic sense of touch may theoretically be possible.  Read More

Rice University researchers use the heartbeat as a random signal generator to make medical...

Remotely hacking a pacemaker or insulin pump should be impossible, but sadly it isn't. It puts the millions of people who use wireless medical implants at potential risk. Researchers at Rice University believe they have a solution: a touch-based device that will use a person's own heartbeat as a password to permit or deny access to their implant.  Read More

A new micro-printing process that allows the production of biocompatible and energy-effici...

The miniaturization of electronics continues to revolutionize the medical industry with tiny, swallowable devices and minuscule, implanted sensors. Researchers at Tel Aviv University (TAU) have kept the ball rolling with the development of a new micro-printing process that allows the production of flexible and energy-efficient microelectromechanical (MEMS) devices that can be safely used in the human body.  Read More

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