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Swallowable Capsule Using Micro Gas Sensing Technology

3/31/15     We have blogged in the past about swallowable dissolvable micro devices that target specific areas of the body, do their work and then dissolve; there are also micro sized swallowable devices that send us images of what is going on in our body; now we are going to talk about a swallowable capsule that measures the concentration of intestinal gases and reports these findings to an electronic device, like a smartphone.
Reseachers at Australia’s RMIT and Monash universities are doing just that. Currently these gases are measured using methods like breathing analysis, but they don’t determine where within the digestive tract the gases are present. The capsule these researchers have designed contains a microprocessor, a gas sensor, a battery and wireless hi-frequency transmitter. After the device is swallowed it measures concentrations of gases as it moves through the intestinal tract.
These readings are transmitted to an electronic device for review by a doctor.

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Why is this important? It could accelerate our knowledge about how specific gut microorganisms contribute to gastrointestinal disorders and food intake efficiency, enabling the development of new diagnostic techniques and treatments. It could also help us to understand how certain foods affect our guts on an individual basis. A paper about this was recently published in Trends in Biotechnology and in GizMag.

Micro Telescopic Lenses for Macular Degeneration Patients

3/24/15   Researchers from the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne in Switzerland have improved on their micro telescopic lenses that were first released in 2013. The latest prototype was unveiled at the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting.
This contact lens has micro telescopic lenses that respond to the blink of an eye and can zoom in on objects with up to 2.8 magnification.
The lenses were first developed to enhance soldiers vision capabilities in the field, the newest prototype is being promoted as a possible visual aid for macular degeneration sufferers.

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This new prototype contact lens is just 1.55mm thick. Unlike soft-lens contacts, the telescoping lenses are placed on the sclera (white part of the eye) using numerous precison micro machined plastic components, micro aluminum mirrors and polarizing film. There are also micro sized air channels across the structure of the lens to provideadequate flow of oxygen.

Obtaining a balance between contact function, cost and eye comfort is always a hurdle when researching new and improved eyewear. MES has worked on many micro ophthalmic projects over the years. Anyone who wears contact lenses knows it is extremely uncomfortable and irritating to the eye to have even a tiny dust-speck sized piece of dirt on surface of your lens. For this reason surface finish and the blending of parting lines, spherical radii, and matching cores & cavities are the key to creating these challenging lenses. You can view some of the projects we have worked on in this field in the Micro Molding section of our website.

Making Microfluidic Devices Using Old Concepts

3/11/15     Microfluidic devices are designed to control extremely tiny droplets of fluid. Micro channels, holes and valves are accurately positioned to push, pull or pressurize fluids (like blood or drugs) to enable the device to perofrm properly.
There is an article in TheScientist magazine about microfluidics. Researchers at Stanford University designed a microfluidic device that is powered by a hand crank, which makes it very inexpensive to use. They based their device on an old childrens music box which contains paper punch cards and when hand cranked powers the device to function.

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This is a great concept for using a portable microfluidic device and due to the low cost could easily be transported and used as a teaching tool in third world countries. The device consists of 3 parts: a microfluidic chip made out of polymer polydimethylsiloxane, paper tapes with punch holes and a device that translates the patterns of punches into pumping action and droplet formation.
MES creates microfluidic features in the sub-micron range using several different processes, check out our website for examples of our work.

Powder Inhalers – Not Just For Respiratory Diseases Anymore!

3/3/15   There has been a lot of buzz in the news lately about inhaled drugs using micro component inhalers to help with a plethora of illnesses. Inhaling drugs is becoming a preferred method of getting medicine into the lungs quickly and successfully. The characteristics, size and nature of this drug delivery technology makes powder inhalers advantageous for numerous end use applications. One in particular includes pandemics and epidemics in third world countries. Powder inhalers are designed to be simple to us, simple and safe to administer the drug(s) and the devices are low cost.
A recent article posted in Reuters Health talks about how preliminary testing of inhaling oxytocin appears to encourage men with autism to make more eye contact. Powder inhalers are popularly used when treating respiratory diseases and have been used in trials pertaining to other illnesses too like diabetes.
Other areas of using a dry powder inhaler being studied are hereditary diseases, cystic fibrosis, osteoporosis, infectious diseases, neurology and pain management.

Micro Engineering Solutions (MES) is also submerged in this technology by having the exclusive rights to market and sell the DoseOne™ Single Dose Powder Inhaler. The key advantage to the DoseOne™ is its simplicity. This 3-component device is easy to manufacture and assemble; it is simple for the end-user to use with its easy 3-step process; it can be altered to administer a variety of drugs up to 2 at a time and is inexpensive to produce. MES is currently seeking serious pharmaceutical partners for this product. For more information please contact DBibber@Dose-One.com.