The best doctors strive to relieve their patients' burdens. A physician in Houston asked Rice University students to help him do so in the most literal way. A team of bioengineering seniors built a prototype device to literally lift the weight from obese patients who, while undergoing surgical procedures, might otherwise have trouble breathing.
Frustrated by the flimsy, disposable construction of typical trauma shears, Scott Forman, an emergency room physician, teamed up with Sandia National Laboratories engineer Mark Reece to design a better tool. The result is a shear that handle tough materials like Kevlar without having to be thrown away afterward. And it has a few other cool features as well.
Cochlear implants have restored basic hearing to some 220,000 deaf people, but the microphone and electronics can be cumbersome and can prevent them from participating in certain activities like swimming. Engineers have designed a tiny prototype microphone that can be implanted in the middle ear, and its form factor has been tested on cadavers. Tests on live humans are still a few years away.
The mitotic spindle is an apparatus that segregates chromosomes during cell division. But following some nanosurgery conducted by Harvard University, its structure may be more complex than the standard textbook picture suggests. Using a femtosecond laser, researchers have shown the true structure of its protein strands.
Engineers at the University of Sheffield have developed a method of making medical devices called nerve guidance conduits. Based on laser direct writing, which enables the fabrication of complex structures from computer files via the use of CAD/CAM, the polymer-based material will assist nerves damaged by traumatic accidents to repair naturally.
A team of Rice University students has invented a machine designed to improve the process of correcting bone deformities in children. Typically, bone correction devices are manually operated, which children must remember to use and which introduces the possibility of damaging fragile tissues and nerves. The new automated linear lengthener avoids these risks.
More than a million Americans receive an artificial hip or knee prosthesis each year, but tens of thousands of people need early replacements because of loosening joints. To help minimize these operations, a team of chemical engineers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology has developed a thin, layered coating for implants that helps promote bone growth.
Researchers reported at a recent Orthopedic Research Society meeting that orthopedic implants "dip-coated" with modular growth factors can stimulate bone and blood vessel growth in sheep. This new modular approach, the report suggests, might be able to stimulate bone formation without side effects.
Robotics experts at the University of California, Santa Cruz and the University of Washington have completed a set of seven advanced robotic surgery systems for use by major medical research laboratories throughout the United States.
Some of the most important components of a pacemaker are the leads, the series of wires led through key veins into the heart and then connected to electrodes. This critical failure point has been addressed by Cambridge Consultants’ new WiCS system, which uses a leadless electrode powered wirelessly with ultrasonic pulses.
This spring, Nimbic Systems received Food and Drug Administration clearance for the company's Air Barrier System, a medical device that reduces surgical-incision site contamination. It creates a “cocoon” of highly pure air that keeps away infection-causing microorganisms.
Both bone and wood are solid, living elements with an internal structure that is porous. By transforming red oakwood into a charcoal substance that emulates bone, scientists in Europe may have discovered a weight-bearing implant that will help regenerate bone.
Implanted biological materials easily mimic the texture of soft tissues, but usually are broken down by the body too fast. Synthetic materials are typically rejected by the body. Researchers at Johns Hopkins University have built a new injectable composite material that combines both biological and synthetic molecules in the hopes of overcoming both problems.
Engineers and physicians at Cornell University and Weill Cornell Medical College have collaborated on the development of a biologically-based spinal implant that relies on two different forms of polymer, collagen and hydrogel.
The June 9 surgery performed at Karolinska University Hospital in Stockholm represents the first synthetic tissue engineered windpipe that has been successfully transplanted. The windpipe was built with a bioreactor and scaffold using the patient’s own stem cells. The success of operation has prompted plans for similar transplants in the near future.
Rob Summers lost his ability to walk five years ago after a hit-and-run accident. But now he is standing again after the implantation of an electrode-based device that uses his own nervous system to control standing and stepping motions.
For two decades, UK resident Eric Selby had been completely blind and dependent on a guide dog to get around. But after having an artificial retina put into his right eye, he can detect ordinary things like the curb and pavement when he's walking outside. The device, which is manufactured by Second Sight and won an R&D 100 Awards in 2009, may soon be marketed in the EU.
Delft University of Technology researcher Eleonora Westebring-van der Putten has developed a working prototype of an instrument that sends tangible feedback signals to surgeons, giving them better force feedback during keyhole surgery. This type of surgery is especially challenging because of this lack of feedback, and can lead to complications.
Invetech, a builder of custom automation for the biomedical, industrial and consumer markets, has delivered the world's first production model 3-D bio-printer to Organovo, developers of the proprietary NovoGen bioprinting technology.
Morgan Technical Ceramics has developed a new bioceramic material for surgical implant devices. Vitox AMC is an alumina matrix composite material which can withstand high shock without fracture.
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