A bill proposed by Kevin Brady (R-TX) is designed to provide a permanent R&D tax credit. H.R. 942, the American Research and Competitiveness Act has drawn immediate support from bipartisan representatives in California, Texas, and Minnesota, as well as industry associations AdvaMed and the Medical Device Manufacturer's Asociation (MDMA).
 
The tax credit would be extended to all types of companies investing in research and development. Large medtech companies spend 8%–13% of their annual revenue on R&D, says a report from the Star Tribune. Small firms often spend even greater amounts, meaning the medical device industry could see terrific benefits if the bill passes. 
 
Such research tax credits are common, but are usually short term. The United States has funded 14 such programs within the last 30 years.
 
The proposed bill strengthens the amount companies can recoup for investing in R&D from the current 14...

March 17th, 2011
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Lisa Suennen, a venture capital expert with Psilos Group takes time away from her day job to consider the consumer:  This chart came across my desk today and it really illustrates the problem that we, as consumers of healthcare products and services, face today. 

 
Average PPO Deductible Reaches $1,200 in 2010
...
 
Average deductible among PPO sponsors requiring a deductible
Percent of PPO sponsors requiring no deductible
March 16th, 2011
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The Thai government is working to strengthen its medical services by increasing quality control standards on equipment and devices. 

"There is great demand in Thailand for medical services, but we lack quality, so we need to [bring manufacturers] into the system,"  Witoon Simachokedee, the permanent secretary of industry told the Bangkok Post.

The secretary, who is chairing a committee to improve standards says testing quality standards is important, but there are challenges. There are about 1700 device manufacturers are scattered around the country and have not been integrated.

In addition, Witoon believes that in some areas Thai manufacturers could not compete with neighboring countries, such as design, research and development, and quality. Witoon says the goal is to make Thailand a medical hub and that...

March 15th, 2011
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We've been covering miniaturization a lot lately, here on Device Talk. Just last week, we covered an microrobot that can deliver drugs inside of the eye and an endoscopic camera the size of a grain of salt. Now,researchers from Brookhaven National Laboratory and Stony Brook University have developed a portable PET scanner for rats. The technology could be used to studying the basis for drug addiction and other disorders in animal studies. This was previously a challenge because rodents (and, of course, other animals) had to be anesthetized before scanning because the procedure requires the...

March 14th, 2011
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 Maybe you're looking for something to do with your weekend but going golfing or catching a movie just sounds so... pedestrian. Maybe you (and I'm guessing there's a fair number of you out there, especially in this community) would really prefer to log some quality recreational hours with, say, a CNC milling machine or a laser cutter.

If you fit that description, then you'll want to head to a TechShop for some real fun. As featured in Wired's "Gadget Lab" blog, TechShops are like Chuck E. Cheese for the prototyping and fabricating set, a veritable playground of high-end manufacturing tools:

 

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March 11th, 2011
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New Scientist reports on new tests now conducted by Michael Kummer and researchers at the Institute of Robotics and Intelligent Systems in Zurich, Switzerland. In the video below, a microrobot is implanted into a pig eye. Electromagnets determine the robot's movements and could enable precise drug delivery for treatment of various sys diseases such as macular degeneration.

...

March 11th, 2011
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MD&DI has a series of webcasts on its web site, all of which are free to attend. I’d like to call your attention to one in particular, which is sponsored by a small group of universities who have developed cutting-edge medical devices for the detection and treatment of skin cancer. The title of the webcast is Breakthrough Devices for the Diagnosis and Treatment of Skin Cancer.

Specifically, the webcast focuses on two cutting-edge technologies related to medical devices in skin cancer research. It’ll discuss how several leading universities in the United States (Georgia Tech, Johns Hopkins University, and Georgia Health Sciences University) are addressing the deadly potential of melanoma by helping to diagnose and treat the disease in its...

March 11th, 2011
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Are you aware that there’s a QMED group on LinkedIn? If ever there was a place to get non-commercial answers to your questions, that’s it. In fact, I just responded to someone’s question about the use of RFID technology for tracking medical supplies. It’s definitely worth a few minutes of your time to check out. And let me know if you share my enthusiasm for RFID.

Richard Nass

March 11th, 2011
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Miniaturization of medical devices is obviously one of the most-important trends shaping the industry. Examples of this trend are too many to count, but I’ll cite Medtronic’s development of a injectable pacemaker as a recent case in point. Now, researchers from the Fraunhofer Institute in Germany are developing endoscopes for minimally invasive operations that feature a camera the size of a grain of salt. Measuring 0.7 × 0.7 × 1.0 mm, the novel camera can produce sharp pictures, owing to its resolution of 25,000 pixels. It is so inexpensive to manufacture that the endoscope could be disposed of after use.
 
Fraunhofer has reported that it has developed a method of mounting thousands of lenses to a semiconductor wafer. After that step has been completed, the wafer can be cut apart to create 28,...

March 10th, 2011
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 Yes, it may sometimes seem like the only thing innovation is inspiring these days is worry, but there's still reason to hope out there. Consider this slideshow that Scientific American posted highlighting the winners of the Lemelson-M.I.T. prize for student inventors, which recognizes four of "tomorrow's technological and entrepreneurial leaders." Among those future leaders is Guoan Zheng, an electrical engineering PhD candidate at the California Institute of Technology, who won for his efforts to develop a low-cost, portable imaging device that doctors could use to screen patients for malaria. From the Scientific American article that accompanies the slideshow:
 
Zheng adapted super-resolution image-processing technology to create an on-chip microscope—a sub-pixel resolving optofluidic microscope (SROFM)—made up of a complementary metal-oxide semiconductor (CMOS) sensor connected via a USB...

March 10th, 2011
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