Patient compliance is the single biggest reason for medical therapy failure. To improve compliance, medical device designers must constantly work to make their devices smaller, more discreet, and easier to use. Low-power medical devices can achieve all of those goals. Better energy efficiency leads to smaller and longer-lasting batteries, ultimately making medical devices more portable and...
With the introduction of Bluetooth low energy technology, there has been considerable interest in its possibilities in both the media and the market. Bluetooth low energy technology also has important limitations as well as benefits. It is quite different from Classic Bluetooth technology—so different that one carefully needs to consider which technology best fits the application needs...
Liquidmetal generated a lot of buzz when word leaked that it might be featured in a new version of the iPhone, but the material has applications beyond consumer electronics. Stronger than titanium and lighter than steel, it's already being used in two medical electronics devices that have made it to market. Liquidmetal, an amorphous liquid metal alloy first discovered at the California Institute...
Mechatronic medical devices are an important historical innovation. Hardware, combined with information-driven software processes, offers increasingly sophisticated functionality, but it also creates important problems with quality. Integration of the engineering work of various hardware, software, and human factors disciplines is a major challenge. Validation and verification testing are...
Editor’s note: This is a two-part article. Part 1 focused on the software development. IEC 62304 focuses on the software development process, defining the majority of the software development and verification activities. This standard outlines requirements at each stage of the development lifecycle and defines the minimum activities and tasks to be performed to provide confidence that the...
Editor’s note: This is a two-part article. Part 2 will focus on systemic problems. For many years, the medical device industry has operated without a consistent and internationally recognised regulatory process. In the U.S., companies have needed compliance to FDA guidelines, which some have lambasted for unnecessary delay while others complain about its lack of rigor. Others heartily...
Murata aims to be a player in the medical space. And they’ve got a series of products to prove it. The company is paying particular attention to small and easy-to-use health-care equipment for the prevention of illness. Some of the product categories the company participates in includes wireless communication modules such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth Smart module, and NFC (Near Field Communication...
Deciding on the right touch technology can be challenging for even the seasoned technology guru. With over 1200 touch-related patents in existence, it is easy to become confused about which touch technology to choose to integrate into a new product. Whether it is the credit card terminal at the grocery store, the ticket kiosk at the local movie theater or the mobile phone in your pocket, the use...
There are many applications, particularly in the medical space, where ferroelectric RAM, or FRAM, is the memory technology of choice. Unlike EEPROM of flash memory, FRAM doesn’t need a high internal voltage for writing operations, thereby increasing both the writing speed and the endurance of the memory. Also key to medical applications is the fact that the FRAM is resistant to...
Measuring stored energy in an electrochemical device, such as a battery, is complex, and state-of-charge (SoC) readings on a fuel gauge provide only a rough estimate. Users often compare battery SoC with the fuel gauge of a vehicle. Calculating fluid in a tank is simple because a liquid is a tangible entity; battery state-of-charge is not. Nor can the energy stored in a battery be quantified...
Hipotronics and Haefely EMC, two companies known for their manufacture of high-voltage test and measurement equipment, announce the launch of a compact immunity test system, the AXOS 5, which will be sold under the Haefely EMC brand name. The AXOS 5 compact immunity test system integrates many features into one box. This includes 5-kV Electrical Fast Transient (EFT) and surge combination wave,...
Keystone Electronics has broadened its selection of PCB and SMT mounted fuse holders to include a series intended specifically for photovoltaic (PV) systems. The new fuse holders are designed to accommodate the Midget fuses (10 by 38 mm), 5AG in the SPF solar protection fuse series. Rated for up to 30 A, 1000 V dc, these Midget holders, in conjunction with the SPF fuses, are a cost-effective...
Following Google's purchase of smartphone and tablet maker Motorola Mobility this past August, there was worry that the company would make its popular Android operating system closed-source. Those fears were put to rest today in a letter from Google CEO Larry Page. "Android was built as an open ecosystem, and we have no plans to change that," he wrote in the 2012 CEO...
A new project at Massachusetts Institute of Technology aims to revolutionize the process of robot production by enabling the average person to design and manufacture robots in only a few hours. The project would give people access to a desktop technology and a library of blueprints for designs that could be customized to solve specific problems. A medtechinsider blog post covered the project....
I saw a lot of interesting technologies last week at the Design West conference, in San Jose. One of the coolest products I spotted on the show floor was a touchless touch screen, from Qualstar. It's exactly like it sounds—a "touch-screen" display that you don't actually have to make physical contact with to control. The device works by using two infrared cameras in the corners of...
Digi International and Wind River have collaborated to deliver a new family of cloud-connected wireless machine-to-machine (M2M) solutions. The M2M Solution Builder kits will include a combination of hardware, software, cloud connectivity and access to tailored M2M development services. This complete end-to-end solution, tailored for performance- and connectivity-driven applications, simplifies...
As baby boomers and Gen Xers reach the age where they more regularly encounter health issues, they’re seeking ways to effectively detect health issues early and treat those conditions with less invasive therapies and procedures that let them recover faster and live longer. To this end, medical equipment companies are turning to advanced electronics to create fantastically innovative and...
Kontron announced the availability of its machine-to-machine (M2M) deployable system, the Kontron KM2M806XT. The ready-to-deploy hardware platform matches the requirements of M2M applications that must operate in extended temperatures and industrial environments. It comes with application-ready middleware and supports M2M digital device connectivity right out of the box. Suited for factory and...
WinSystems announced their PXM-C388-S, a PC/104-compatible single board computer (SBC) powered by an Intel 1.66-GHz Atom processor. This new SBC adds the SUMIT (Stackable Unified Modular Interconnect Technology) I/O expansion connector onto a PC/104 expandable SBC.  This combination gives designers I/O expansion for standard and custom PC/104 modules currently available, plus enhanced...
Futura Mobility recently launched its Continuum Power System, which employs Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePO4) battery technology. The technology is suited for use in mobile carts, which are increasingly being relied on as the primary vehicle for capturing patient information at the point of care. It features an advanced electronics system that safely recharges the batteries to full capacity in...
Editor's Note: MED recently ran a series on battery topics, with articles focusing on wireless charging, battery fuel gauges, and risk management. This piece on USB battery charging came from our sister site, EE Times. As the USB port becomes increasingly ubiquitous, it is also becoming accepted as a universal charging port. Unfortunately, this concept of universal is easier to...
Medical device inventor, investor, and electronics engineer Mir Imran once told me “problems don’t care about technology.” As it turns out, many innovators and entrepreneurs tend to be so enamored by technology that they neglect to spend sufficient time understanding the market needs that their products are meant to address. This tendency is rather widespread in the domain of...
Microchip Technology Inc. recently announced a new series of low pin count 32-bit PIC32 microcontrollers (MCUs) that provide 61 DMIPS of performance in packages as small as 5 by 5 mm. The PIC32 MX1 and MX2 MCUs, the smallest and lowest-cost PIC32 MCUs, are the first in the family to feature dedicated audio and capacitive-sensing peripherals. The devices also feature USB On-the-Go (OTG)...
Recently, the FDA reported that “of the 56,000 medical device reports relating to the use of infusion pumps received by the FDA over a five-year period, approximately 1% (560) were related to deaths, 34% (19,040) to serious injuries, and the remainder to system malfunctions.” As a result, the FDA issued a guidance directed specifically toward infusion pumps. It states that when paired...
National Instruments announced four new single-board RIO board-level embedded devices featuring a real-time processor, a Xilinx Spartan-6 FPGA, analog and digital I/O, and other built-in peripherals for custom embedded control and monitoring applications. The devices provide engineers with off-the-shelf FPGA and real-time processor technology through NI’s LabView while maintaining the...