It must be the week for robotics, huh? Although the da Vinci surgical system from Intuitive Surgical has been out for quite some time now, it seems to be more popular than ever. Surgeons at Glendale Adventist Medical Center in Glendale, CA, (see photo) used the system to perform a dual robotic surgery—that is, gallbladder surgery and then a hysterectomy—...

November 4th, 2010
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EMS provider Benchmark Electronics now manufactures Class III medical devices for large tier-one medical OEMs out of its facility in Thailand. The facility was recently audited by FDA.
 
"I am pleased to announce the addition of Class III medical device capabilities in Asia. Given Benchmark's medical heritage, we are excited to achieve this very important milestone in our long-term commitment. With this capability we expand the level and scope of delivering excellent product solutions to medical equipment manufacturers," said Cary T. Fu, Benchmark's CEO. "Our Class III medical device manufacturing in Thailand supplements Benchmark's other recently expanded service offerings worldwide, which includes precision technologies and increased design engineering depth."
 
Benchmark Electronics provides integrated electronics manufacturing, design, and engineering services to OEMs in the medical device industry. —...

November 3rd, 2010
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A team of researchers at UCLA is working to develop a tiny version of lithium-ion batteries, which is the battery type often found in laptops, cellphones, and iPods. Although the research is in its infancy, this technology could one day power miniature electronic devices.
 
"We're trying to achieve the same power densities, the same energy densities as traditional lithium ion batteries, but we need to make the footprint much smaller," says Jane Chang, a UCLA engineer involved in the project.
 
Who knows, maybe the batteries could be used in the microbots we learned about earlier...

November 3rd, 2010
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AAMI and IEC have approved IEC 80001, an international standard on risk management for networks incorporating medical devices that has been in development for almost four years. The standard outlines how healthcare organizations can manage risk and patient safety in an environment in which an increasing number of medical devices are connected to IT networks.
 
“It can help the healthcare facilities identify risks they may not have been aware of,” says Bill Hintz, senior engineering manager for Medtronic and cochair of the AAMI/IT Information Technology Networks Incorporating Medical Devices committee. Such risks include the loss of critical information and devices not working as intended.
 
A manual on how to comply with the standard should be out by the end of the year. AAMI also plans to offer courses and webinars for...

November 2nd, 2010
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When the Nintendo Wii came out, many observers lauded its potential health benefits. For example, certain games require players to jump, swing, kick, pivot, and perform all sorts of other physical activities that may be lacking in their real lives (personally, I was always a tennis aficianado). This activity can also be helpful in rehabilitation, which is something that care facilities have already explored. A rehabilitation center in Hartford, CT, provides some real-life examples of how medical electronics are opening new pathways in rehab. —Lawrence Lloyd

November 2nd, 2010
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From our friends at MPMN:


The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), in collaboration with IEEE, is inviting teams currently engaged in microrobotic, microelectronic, or microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) research to participate in the NIST Mobile Microrobotics Challenge 2011. The competition will be held as part of the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, to be held May 9–13, 2011 in Shanghai.
 

Read more details about the challenge here. One of the events in the challenge is the simulation of a medical microbot working in a human blood...

November 2nd, 2010
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It was just announced that 454 Life Sciences, a Roche subsidiary, has partnered with DNA Electronics to develop a low-cost, high-throughput, long-read, high-density DNA sequencing system. Looking to build on its current pyrosequencing-based platform, 454 has tapped DNA Electronics to provide IP from its proprietary semiconductor technology portfolio. The goal of the collaboration is to produce a "seamless evolution from optical detection to low-cost, highly scalable electrochemical detection."
 
"We have always believed that the marriage between mature standard CMOS semiconductor technology, ubiquitous in the consumer electronics world, and the molecular life science industry will eventually transform research machines into affordable diagnostics tools," said Christopher Toumazou, DNA Electronics chairman and CEO, in a statement.
 
DNA ...

November 1st, 2010
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GE Healthcare and UPMC are collaborating on Omnyx, a completely digital pathology platform that the companies expect to "help transform the 125-year-old practice of pathologists using glass slides." In other words, someday in the near future, pathologists might get to avoid hunching over a microscope to view slides. The slides will be digitized, which enables a speedier and more efficient process for the pathologist and the patient. Research testing of Omnyx is scheduled for three U.S. sites and another in Canada.

 

The technology was inspired by a discovery two years ago at GE Healthcare's Global Research ...

October 28th, 2010
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The Numerical Algorithms Group (NAG) has announced a new version of its algorithms library specifically for medical device design engineers that work in the Microsoft .NET environment and program in C#, Visual Basic, Visual C++, and F#. The NAG Library (trials are available here) for .NET has algorithms in areas such as the following:

 

  • optimization
  • curve and surface fitting
  • FFTs
  • interpolation
  • linear algebra
  • wavelet transforms
  • quadrature
  • correlation and regression analysis
  • random number generators
  • time series analysis

 

For a complete listing of methods included in the NAG Library for .NET, visit www.nag.com/numeric/DT/DTdescription.asp. —Lawrence Lloyd

October 28th, 2010
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For those of you in the Twitterverse, follow MED (@readMED) to get all of our updates. 

October 27th, 2010
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