From 3D-printing breakthroughs to provocative questions about the future of medical device design, these articles from the Medical Channel got the most page views in April.
All-in-one-surgery concept wins Startup Competition at 3D Printing Conference and Expo
Imagine a maker center at your friendly neighborhood hospital, where patients are scanned and a custom device or implant is printed, sterilized and surgically implanted on the spot. That's the business model of startup Osiris Biomed 3D (New York and Lexington, KY), which received a vote of confidence this month at the Inside 3D Printing Conference and Expo in New York. The judges of the Startup Competition unanimously voted it the winner among the five finalists. "Osiris Biomed 3D stood out for its innovative use of 3D printing in a large, untapped market that has the potential to save lives," said Tyler Benster, self-described 3D printing evangelist and Program Chair of the Inside 3D Printing Conference and Expo. Read more.
Image courtesy Stuart Miles/
The 3D-printing medical breakthroughs of the year (so far)
The 3D-printing juggernaut continues to transform the medical manufacturing model, as we demonstrated in this slide show. The technology was instrumental in helping an octogenarian successfully undergo a valve replacement procedure and, on the other end of the age spectrum, brighten the life of a toddler with a rare facial deformity. Read more.
Medtech business opportunities: There's plenty of room at the bottom
A report from global business consultancy PWC inspired a blog post about a huge underserved market for medical technology: roughly two-thirds of the global population that sits at the base of the pyramid. While some forward-thinking medtech manufacturers are finding opportunities in this market hidden in plain sight, too many fail to recognize that in providing "full and fair access to healthcare for the base of the pyramid, profits and purpose go hand in hand." Read more.
Breast prosthesis company switches to 3D-printed molds; slashes development costs 50%
Anita Dr. Helbig GmbH (Brannenburg, Germany), a manufacturer of bodices, swimwear and breast prostheses, is using a 3D printer from German RepRap (Feldkirchen, Germany) to produce molds for breast forms. By using this technology for product and tooling development, the company reportedly was able to slash development costs in half. Read more.
Boston at epicenter of medical technology innovation
Recently named the third most innovative city in the United States for medical technology in a poll conducted by sister brand Qmed, Boston hosts BIOMEDevice Boston, co-located with PLASTEC New England, at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center on May 6 and 7. The event combines educational sessions devoted to technologies that are rapidly transforming the medtech landscape with an exhibition highlighting advances in everything from molding to materials. Setting the tone for an event dedicated to innovation, visionary inventor Dean Kamen, the man behind the Segway, will be a keynote speaker on opening day. Read more.
World's most-conductive 3D-printing filament now shipping
Startup company Functionalize (Seattle, WA) has begun shipping what it says is the world's most conductive 3D-printing filament. The F-electric filament enables 3D printing of a host of products, including flashlights, but what caught our attention was the possibility of 3D-printed prosthetics that are able to sense pressure through conductive pads in the fingertips. Read more.
Proto Labs puts medtech manufacturers on fast track
A rapid injection molding and machining company, Proto Labs (Maple Plain, MN) consistently records double-digit growth by giving customers what they want: fast turnarounds on prototype and low-volume parts. It also gives its employees what they want, and has been named one of the best small companies in the United States by Forbes. PlasticsToday met with recently appointed President and CEO Victoria Holt at NPE2015 in Orlando, FL, to learn more about the company's recipe for success. Read more.
Eastman, Prestige collaborate on multi-cavity mold for intricate medical parts
In collaboration with Prestige Mold Inc. (Rancho Cucamonga, CA), Eastman Chemical (Kingsport, TN) has developed what it says is a first-of-its kind multi-cavity hot runner mold for the production of intricate medical parts. The mold was developed to address anticipated customer needs for durable medical device parts free of bisphenol A and S that can withstand sterilization and harsh chemicals. Read more.
Revolutionary 3D-printing technology found its inspiration in Terminator 2
Reminiscent of the T-1000 robot in Terminator 2 that would constitute itself from a puddle of mercury-like liquid, a video shows a new 3D-printing technology developed by Carbon3D (Redwood City, CA) that produces solid final parts 25 to 100 times faster than current technology. Stents and false teeth printed while you wait are among the medical applications envisioned by the inventors. Read more.
Lady Gaga's insulin pump
Medical device design is frumpy, and Eric Larson, the owner and Chief Engineer of Art of Mass Production (San Diego, CA), thinks medical device design engineers need to take a page out of the consumer electronics playbook. To get their creative juices flowing, they could start by asking themselves, if Lady Gaga were diabetic, what would her insulin pump look like? Read more.