Photokina 2014 highlights

Implant

Scientists have used polymer implants to grow new adult brain tissue (Image: Shutterstock)

Using implants made from porous biocompatible materials, scientists have recently been successful in regrowing things such as teeth, tendons and heart tissue, plus bone and cartilage. The materials act as a sort of nanoscale three-dimensional scaffolding, to which lab-cultivated cells can be added, or that the recipient’s own cells can colonize. Now, a Spanish research team has used the same principle to grow new brain tissue – the technique could ultimately be used to treat victims of brain injuries or strokes.  Read More

The basic components of the Argus II Retinal Prosthesis, used in the experiment

Second Sight’s Argus II Retinal Prosthesis is definitely an interesting piece of technology, allowing a blind user to “see” objects, colors and movement in their environment. Ordinarily, this is done with the help of a video-camera-equipped pair of glasses worn by the user. In a recent experiment, however, researchers bypassed the camera, transmitting visual braille patterns directly to a blind test subject’s retina.  Read More

The experimental 3D printer, which combines electrospinning and ink jet printing technolog...

Generally speaking, injured cartilage doesn’t heal well ... if at all. In recent years, however, scientists have successfully regrown cartilage at injury sites, using things like hydrogel, microspheres and collagen-based nano-scaffolding. Now, a team of scientists led by Prof. James Yu of North Carolina's Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine have developed something else – a 3D printer that creates implantable cartilage.  Read More

Regular implantable defibrillators (like this one) may save patients' lives, but also infl...

While regular pacemakers attempt to rectify arrhythmias (irregular heart beat rhythms) using constantly-delivered electric pulses, implantable cardioverter defibrillators do something a bit different. As long as everything stays normal, they don’t do any shocking – when they detect a dangerously fast heart beat, however, they respond by delivering a massive jolt of electricity to the heart. While this may save the patient’s life, it’s also very traumatic and painful. Now, a team of scientists from Washington University in St. Louis may have come up with a solution to that problem.  Read More

The FDA has approved clinical human trials of the ReFIT system (Photo: Joel Simon)

Researchers at Stanford University have developed a new algorithm suitable for brain-implantable prosthetic systems, or “neuroprosthetics,” which increases the effectiveness of mind-controlled computer cursor movement to a degree that approaches the speed, accuracy and natural movement offered by a real arm.  Read More

The biocompatible cryogel rapidly regains its original memorized shape, size, and volume u...

Biocompatible scaffolds, like those developed to stimulate the repair of heart tissue and bone and cartilage in the body, would normally need to be implanted surgically. Now bioengineers at Harvard University have developed a compressible bioscaffold that can be delivered via a syringe before popping back to its original shape inside the body. The material is also able to be loaded up with drugs or living cells that are gradually released as the material breaks down.  Read More

The new sensor improves monitoring of cerebral pressure, which can lead to dementia

A new moisture-proof sensor has been developed, to monitor cerebral pressure that can lead to dementia. It was created by researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Biomedical Engineering IBMT in St. Ingbert in Germany. The sensor, that is similar to pressure sensors used by the auto industry, represents a shift from previous implants that allowed moisture to penetrate and destroy the device.  Read More

An experimental ear-powered chip, with a penny for scale

Our ears work by converting the vibrations of the eardrum into electrochemical signals that can be interpreted by the brain. The current for those signals is supplied by an ion-filled chamber deep within the inner ear – it’s essentially a natural battery. Scientists are now looking at using that battery to power devices that could be implanted in the ear, without affecting the recipient’s hearing.  Read More

A biodegradable integrated circuit during dissolution in water (Photo: Beckman Institute, ...

We’ve certainly been hearing a lot lately about tiny electronic devices that can do things such as delivering medication after being implanted in the body, measuring structural stress upon being attached to a bridge, or monitoring pollution after being placed in the environment. In all of these cases, the device has to be retrieved once it’s served its purpose, or just left in place indefinitely. Now, however, an interdisciplinary team of researchers have demonstrated “transient electronics,” which dissolve into nothing after a pre-determined amount of time.  Read More

Power delivery to the human heart from a 200MHz low-frequency transmitter (left) and a 1.7...

Implantable medical devices are becoming more common everyday. The problem is that no matter how sophisticated the devices are, most still depend on batteries for power. One solution to this is for the power source to remain outside the body and to beam the power to the device. However, that has its own difficulties because wireless power can’t penetrate very far through human tissue ... until now.  Read More

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