I admit it. I used to be a philosopher. 

When I left academia and got a real job more years ago than I want to think about, I didn’t expect to have many opportunities to use my philosophy background (I was educated in and teaching psychology, but my “professional work”, as we called it, was to examine the “metatheories” that formed the foundation for cognitive psychology, i.e., roughly that branch of philosophy called epistemology).

Well, I was wrong. Working in medical device development, hardly a day goes by that I don’t use something that I’ve learned from philosophers like Ludwig Wittgenstein or John Dewey. I don’t want to go off on too much of a tangent about philosophy, but let me just say that the stereotype of the philosopher...

March 21st, 2012
Mark Graban

A recent story in the Wall Street Journal promises (or threatens) that robots are taking over our hospitals, replacing certain minimum wage “blue collar” positions. The article paints a picture of robots rolling through hospital hallways, efficiently delivering medications and supplies without needing to take breaks or stopping to chat about last night’s game or the latest reality show. Even if robots deliver their promised cost savings, there’s one critical thing even the smartest robots can’t do—generate and implement ideas...

March 21st, 2012

If you’re on a plane in the near future, the person next to you with the LED lights flashing in his ears might not just be making a futuristic fashion statement. 

          image copyright Valkee Ltd.
Frequent international travelers may finally have the answer to their jet lag woes. Valkee, a Finish company, is about to begin testing a line of mood-elevating earbuds on passengers of Finnair flights. The earbuds, which project pulses of light into the photosensitive areas of the brain, are claimed to be helpful in enhancing mood and alleviating the...
March 19th, 2012

The term DIY Medical Device might conjure images of a FDA nightmare in the minds of most. But in a time when healthcare costs are increasing globally, Jose Gomez-Marquez, director of the Director of the IIH (Innovations in International Health) Lab at MIT, has embraced the idea by heading up MIT’s Little Devices group, dedicated to design, invention, and policy toward DIY health technologies.

  image copyright D-Lab Health
Created with the healthcare needs of the developing world in mind, the MEDIKit (Medical Education Design and Invention...
March 16th, 2012

 There are advancements in medical devices on the horizon that threaten to rival things only seen in science fiction movies—all brought to you by a piece of video gaming hardware that retails for $149.99.

If you’ve got kids in your family you’ve no doubt seen them playing Dance Central or a handful of other touch-free games on the Kinect for the Microsoft XBox 360. If you haven’t seen it suffice to say the Kinect represents the likely next step in gaming technology. Like those kids in Back to the Future 2 said, “You mean you have to use your hands?!...That’s like a baby’s toy.”
And the Kinect could also be pointing the way in the next step in medical device technology. Right now researchers all over the world are adapting the comparatively inexpensive device—effectively turning a piece of hardware designed for battling aliens into a medical device.
March 15th, 2012

Interested in what’s happening in Medtech in Europe? Two of our editors, Norbert Sparrow and Yvonne Kloepping, are attending MedTech Europe in Stuttgart this week, and will be summarizing the day’s news. Catch the video for the latest in medtech from Europe on the Medtec Connection.

Richard Nass

March 14th, 2012
Maintaining integrity during product research is critical. If you need assistance when conducting due diligence, using ethnography, projective mapping, and participatory design will help lead the way, according to Sean founding principal and director of research and synthesis at BlackHägen Design (Dunedin, FL). In
Case Study:...
March 8th, 2012
Stephen Wilcox

Stephen B. Wilcox, Ph.D., FIDSA

I thought I would begin this blog with a discussion of a New Yorker article.

What does this have to do with medical-device usability?  Let me explain.

I’ve spent the last 25 years or so mostly working with medical-device development teams in new product development, and I can report that one thing nearly every team does at some point is “brainstorm”. The purpose of brainstorming is to add the magic of “new ideas” to the mix.  No matter how careful you are; no matter how much intellectual horsepower you bring to...

March 7th, 2012

It's no secret that China's domestic medical technology industry is a juggernaut in the making. Yet more evidence is provided by Helen Zhang, Associate Editor of China Medical Device Manufacturer, in a post on the medtechinsider blog. A number of life science sectors represent an investment gold mine, she writes in her article titled "Investors Seize Opportunities in China's Healthcare Industry."

Financial expert Wang Guochang introduced the recent 2012 China-International Supreme Forum of Medical Industry Investment and Financing by noting that more than 100 healthcare entities attracted a collective investment amount of RMB 25 billion in 2011. The medical technology industry was the fourth largest recipient of investment capital in the country, he told...

March 7th, 2012