micro parts to market... faster

Micro Component Thumbnail Device

Researchers at the MIT have developed a wearable device that turns the user’s thumbnail into a miniature wireless track pad. This would allow users to control wireless devices when their hands are full, like answering the phone while carrying grocery bags.

According to Cindy Hsin-Liu Kao, an MIT graduate student in media arts and sciences and lead author on the new paper, the device was inspired by the colorful stickers that some women apply to their nails. “It’s a cosmetic product, popular in Asian countries,” says Kao, who is Taiwanese. “When I came here, I was looking for them, but I couldn’t find them, so I’d have my family mail them to me.” They can have a thin layered cover with a design on it so it looks like nailpolish.

micro component

A future commercial version of this device would have a detachable membrane on its surface. They used capacitive sensing (the same kind of sensing the iPhone’s touch screen relies on) to register touch. It can tolerate a thin, nonactive layer between the user’s finger and the underlying sensors.

The thumbnail size prototype includes capacitive sensors, a battery, and three separate chips – a microcontroller, a Bluetooth radio chip, and a capacitive-sensing. Due to its small size using micro components, the battery life isn’t very long therefore the device would need to be turned off when not in use.

Micro technology is such an amazing aspect to the electronics and medical industries, imagine not having to carry a cell phone around anymore, you could access it on your thumbnail!!!

Intraocular Micro Components

6/15/17     Cataracts, diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma are major causes of loss of vision. Implants are generally used to help with these situations. Ophthalmic and intraocular implants are largely made up of many micro sized and highly precise components and assemblies.

micro glaucoma drain

This glaucoma drain, commonly known as a shunt, is injection molded, spherically shaped with a wedge-shaped radial side action in the tool that creates the drain geometry.  At the end of the side action travel is a 250 micron orifice whereby no flash can be tolerated.  Shunts are mostly tubular, however this one is 3d shaped and designed for placement in the sclera (side of the eye).  It is designed to act like a venturi system which uses the pressure of the eye to push the discharge from glaucoma to behind the eye where it can drain.  In addition to the 250 micron entry orifice, there are 4 suture holes of 250 micron diameter (2x a human hair) molded into the top of the implant.  These suture holes also must be free and clear of particulate or flash to prevent sutures from cutting during implantable or after surgery. Designing and manufacturing micro sized components like this takes special technology and tooling. To get the job done right you need to find a company that has years of experience in micro components, like Micro Engineering Solutions does. If you have a project that needs micro-specialty please give us a call.

Micro Medical Device takes on the Opiod Crisis

6/8/17     Smart pills are fairly new to the medical field. They do a variety of things from measuring the amount of a substance in your body to acting like a micro-submarine maneuvering throughout your body for a specific purpose.

One of the more recent hopes of this device is to put a dent in the opiod overdose crisis. Imagine a smart pill that could detect and measure other substances in your body, then administer the correct amount of drug to counteract the opiods! This could be possible using microfluidic and micro actuator techniques. Scientists are currently working out the details on this concept and could make a quick positive direct impact in the fight against opiod overdoses.

Micro Devices Drive a $38 Billion Opportunity

5/26/17     Do you remember the movie Fantastic Voyage from 1966 where a submarine crew was shrunk to a micro size and drove around inside of a body to repair brain damage? This technology is no longer the topic of Hollywood fantasies. We are using this cutting edge micro technology today! It’s called Radio Frequency Identification (RFID). It uses tiny transponders, or tags, to find and track objects. Each micro tag has an antenna that transmits and receives radio waves from an RFID transceiver.
Research and Markets estimates that the global market for RFID and related technologies should reach $38 billion by 2021 from $16.2 billion in 2016, for a compound annual growth rate from 2016 to 2021 of 18.6%.
It has been said that “miniaturized, wireless tracking devices for medicine, retail, manufacturing, and a wide range of other industries are one of the hottest investment trends you can find”.
Doctors use RFID sub-dermal implants in patients to monitor their whereabouts, bio-functions and medical history. Pharmaceutical firms use them to track millions of proprietary drug compounds in their product libraries. Laboratories use them to track tissue or fluid samples.
RFID tags also are used in retail stores, at tollbooths, at gas pumps, on automaker factory floors, and in livestock on farms. As Linda points out:

Technology specialists at Breakthrough Tech Profits emphasize that wireless tracking systems such as RFID represent an exploding, multi-year investing bonanza, especially as they are integrated into the Internet of Things:
“By the end of 2020, the installed base of ‘things’ could top 200 billion worldwide, including some 30 billion installed autonomous things, largely driven by intelligent systems that will be collecting data across both enterprise and consumer applications, according to research firm IDC.
All processor-based systems (think handsets, wearables, GPS devices, RFID tags, automobiles, airplanes, medical devices, HVAC controllers and smart meters) continuously generate machine data, both structured and unstructured.”
The growth stock winners of the future will be the companies offering software platforms that enable organizations to gain operational intelligence by sorting through all of this data. As well as companies that specialize in miniaturization devices.

Micro Component Devices for Testing Diabetes

5/11/17      People with diabetes have traditionally self-monitored their glucose levels by pricking their finger and putting a drop of blood onto a glucose monitor. Although this is an easy way to test your levels, most diabetics want a less painful testing method. A blood sample has been the common approach to this, but glucose is present in many biological fluids, begging the question of what other bodily fluids can we use to self-test our glucose levels?


One of most successful ways has been using continuous glucose monitors that consist of a wearable sensor and a receiver. The sensor consists of a microneedle which sits just under the skin and records glucose levels at regular intervals and transmits these to the reader via Bluetooth or NFC technology. Sensors last an average of 6 days, and currently require regular calibration with blood based biosensors. Because of these limitations, researchers are looking into the potential for glucose testing in sweat, tears and saliva. These long-term monitoring solutions will enable the creation of an artificial pancreas- a device that can monitor glucose levels and administer controlled doses of insulin accordingly- leading to fully automated diabetes control. The first such device received regulatory approval in late 2016 and is expected for release soon. Both insulin pens and pumps are using new sensor and communication technologies to enable new features, developing new platforms to monitor insulin dosing and other vital information.
With almost 30 million people having diabetes, the focus on less invasive, more comfortable monitoring devices has been in the forefront of the medical industry. Exciting new advances are being tested as we speak!

Micro Moldings Most Important Component

5/3/17     What is micro moldings most important component? Is it the mold? Is it the material? Watch our video with Donna Bibber here to find out!

Merging Factors Driving the Growth of Dry Powder Inhaled Delivery

4/27/17     The search for improved routes of administration for therapeutic agents and the desire for noninvasive delivery methods for self-medication of chronic conditions have led to increased interest in pulmonary drug delivery systems. Recent developments, including ongoing research activity in powder formulations, advances in particle engineering, and novel device designs have positioned dry powder inhalation as an attractive option for the pharma and biotech industries.
Inhalers for the treatment of upper respiratory ailments, like asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, are arguably the most mission-critical drug delivery device class currently on the market. These combination products are relied upon by tens of millions of Americans and more than 300 million worldwide for the treatment of debilitating and life-threatening respiratory conditions.
As managed care initiatives drive growth in home health care and self-administration of drug therapies, inhaled medicine is increasingly being viewed as patient-friendly and cost-effective.

doseone

The market for inhaled drugs targeting upper respiratory diseases is a maturing technology with most development activity now centering on combination drug inhalers. Oral inhalers containing two drugs that compliment the therapeutic actions of one another is one of the key factors in the DoseOne™ single dose powder inhaler (US Patent #7,832,399 B2 and #8,360,057 B2). Combination inhalers most commonly consist of an inhaled corticosteroid in combination with a bronchodilator. These products are showing significant commercial success in the two markets for which they are indicated – Asthma and COPD – both of which are forecast to grow at impressive rates for the remainder of the decade.

In the area of inhaler technology, MES has the exclusive worldwide rights to sell one of the most innovative DPIs available today, the DoseOne™ Single Dose Powder Inhaler. This 3-component inhaler is easy to use, has a low manufacturing cost and is equipped with a simple dose readiness indicator and a dose delivery indicator. If you are interested in partnering with MES on the DoseOne™ product, or you are looking to explore some of the possibilities that exist for the development of ultra precision devices for other medical applications, please email Donna Bibber at donna@microengineeringsolutions.com. For full details of DoseOne™ see www.dose-one.com.

Inspecting Micro Sized Medical Components

4/20/17     The technology Micro Engineering Solutions currently uses to inspect the tiny dust-sized components we work on is crucial to helping us understand the make up of the component as well as verify everything is within spec. We create the metrology by using a laser scanner vision system which takes a 3D scan of the part for us to use. To hear more about this, please watch our YouTube clip here.

 

Nanostraw Extraction Doesn’t Harm Cells

4/13/17   Routine lab work to examine biological parameters usually depends on destroying cells to release their contents for measurement. This technique has been used for decades, but its downfall is any given cell can only be analyzed once in a snapshot-like manner. A new technique developed at Stanford University enables researchers to non-destructively sample a cell’s interior, thus allowing for dynamic monitoring of the same cell over multiple time-points.

nanostraw

 

Mimicking natural gates which allow cells to exchange substances, the researchers built an array of nano-scale hollow tubes 600 times thinner than a human hair. Cells grown on this Nanostraw Extraction (NEX) platform are subjected to a momentary electrical current, freeing some of the cellular contents to diffuse out and through the nanostraws for collection and analysis by standard lab techniques, such as ELISA or PCR. Coupling a transient current with these nanostraws allows the researchers to take multiple snapshots of a cell’s interior without killing it.

This technique was tested on cell lines and human stem-cell derived heart and brain cells for up to 20 days, showing that it did not alter cell survival or morphology. This NEX platform promises to revolutionize dynamic assays, such as those studying stem cell development or transient drug responses.

Micro Part Handling Challenges Regarding Static Electricity

4/6/17     MES makes extremely small parts, some are the size of a speck of dust. When handling those micro sized parts, the natural static electricity in the air can….see the rest of this video on static electricity here.