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September 20th, 2021 by Conn Hastings
Researchers at Simon Fraser University in Canada have developed a low-cost portable ventilator that uses a 3D-printed origami tube rather than a conventional airbag. The volume of the tube can be modified by changing the angles in the origami folding plates. As up to 95% of the components of the ventilator are 3D printable, the device can be created for approximately $200, compared with approximately $2000 for existing portable ventilators. Ventilators have been a key tool during the COVID-19 pandemic, and shortages have inspired a variety of makeshift and innovative...Read More
Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania created a dental implant that resists bacterial growth and generates electricity thanks to its piezoelectric properties. The generated electricity could power a light source for on-board phototherapy, a technique that could help protect gum tissue from disease and inflammation. The implant contains discs with embedded barium titanate (BTO) nanoparticles that work to create a negative surface charge on the material that repels bacteria. Dental implants are used to replace teeth that are lost through decay or gum disease, and are a more advanced solution...Read More
Boston Scientific recently announced FDA clearance of the EXALT Model B single-use bronchoscope, intended for bedside procedures in intensive care units or in the operating room. As a single-use device that boasts high quality imaging and suction capabilities, the bronchoscope is ready to go out of the packaging, which means it mitigates the risk of infection posed by ineffective device reprocessing between patients. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, when healthcare staff are working hard to prevent viral transmission within healthcare facilities, the scope will likely prove particularly useful....Read More
Researchers at the Cleveland Clinic have developed an advanced bionic arm that allows users with upper limb amputations to achieve a similar level of function as non-amputees. The system incorporates a sense of touch and movement and allows for intuitive motor control. The device is intended for users who have undergone targeted sensory and motor reinnervation procedures in which motor and sensory neurons are redirected to the skin and muscles in the residual limb, allowing them to communicate with the bionic limb. Bionic prostheses are advancing apace. This latest device...Read More

August 31st, 2021 by Conn Hastings
Researchers at Rice University managed to create flexible carbon nanotube fibers that can be incorporated into clothing to function as wearable health monitors. The new thread is highly conductive, but it is washable and strong, allowing it to function as an unobtrusive component of clothing. So far, the researchers have incorporated the fibers into a sports shirt that can monitor heart rate and obtain a continual electrocardiogram. The technology could act as a replacement for uncomfortable or impractical wearables, such as chest straps. Wearables promise unobtrusive health monitoring, but how...Read More
Shockwave Medical, a medtech company based in California, has developed a technique called intravascular lithotripsy, which involves delivering sonic waves to calcified plaque in an artery in much the same way that sound waves have been used to treat kidney stones for many years. The idea is to safely crack the calcified deposits so that a stent can then be inserted to open the artery. At present, calcified coronary arteries are typically treated using high pressure balloons, which can sometimes struggle to disrupt calcified deposits and the high pressure involved...Read More
At MIT a team of engineers have developed a system that they claim will enhance a user’s control of a bionic limb. The technology consists of implantable magnetic beads and a series of sensors that can monitor their movement. When implanted within a muscle in a residual limb, pairs of the beads can provide information on muscle movement that the sensors can relay to a prosthetic, potentially controlling its movements more precisely than existing electromyography systems. The researchers hope that this approach could enhance user experiences with assistive technology, including...Read More
A team at University of California San Diego invented a way to make steerable catheters that can more precisely navigate the tortuous architecture of the brain vasculature. The device was bioinspired by delicate structures found in nature, including flagella and insect legs, and uses principles from soft robotics to create a hydraulic steering system, which is encased within a tiny silicone rubber catheter. The UCSD researchers hope that the technology could allow clinicians to treat areas of vasculature that are currently out of reach. Intracranial aneurysms can pose a tricky...Read More

August 25th, 2021 by Conn Hastings
Researchers at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore created a flexible battery that is powered by sweat. The device could provide a new way to energize medical wearables, some of which already use sweat to detect or monitor disease. The stretchable device incorporates silver flakes that clump together and generate a small electrical current in the presence of sweat. Medical wearables are becoming increasingly ubiquitous. The ability to monitor vital signs or disease progression using such an unobtrusive and convenient technology has obvious advantages. However, in the interests of the environment,...Read More

August 24th, 2021 by Conn Hastings
Researchers at MIT and Shanghai Jiao Tong University created an inexpensive robotic hand intended for use by upper limb amputees. The device is more like a soft robot than previous robotic prostheses, and includes inflatable components and pneumatics, making it lightweight and inexpensive. Excitingly, the hand is equipped with sensors and provides some tactile feedback as users interact with objects. The researchers hope that the technology could lead to affordable and viable neuroprosthetic devices, particularly for amputees in low-income regions of the world. Neuroprostheses are rapidly expanding what is possible...Read More

August 24th, 2021 by Conn Hastings
Researchers at Brown University have developed wireless micro-implants that can function as a network of neural sensors and stimulators in the brain. The research team has dubbed their creation "neurograins," which are intended to be implanted in the brain in large numbers. When inside, they can transmit data to an external communication hub, in the form of a patch attached to the scalp. The researchers hope that the neurograins will be able to record brain activity from a large number of neurons in the brain, allowing for advanced functionality when...Read More

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