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MD&M Minneapolis Innovation Prize: Meet the Finalists

These are some of the most innovative exhibitors at the upcoming MD&M Minneapolis show.

Chris Newmarker


A decontamination floor mat to help fight the huge problem of healthcare-acquired infections, a technology that helps combine some of the best aspects of 3-D printing and injection molding--those are but some of the technologies that caught the eyes of Qmed editors and readers as they selected the five MD&M Minneapolis Innovation Prize finalists.

The five finalists were chosen out of 13 MD&M Minneapolis exhibitors who submitted entries for the contest.

Check out the five finalists yourself on Wednesday, September 21, at 2 p.m., when Qmed senior editor Chris Newmarker leads an Innovation Tour out of Center Stage at MD&M Minneapolis. You'll be able to vote for the Innovation Prize winner at the end of the tour.

Circuit Solutions Vortex
(Image courtesy of Circuit Solutions)

(See these five exhibitors and more at MD&M Minneapolis. Qmed readers get 20% off with promo code Qmed16.)

Here are the five finalists:

1. Decontamination Floor Mat

Circuit Solutions (Minnetonka, MN)

Booth 1340

While there has been significant progress preventing some types of infections, about one in 25 U.S. hospital patients still suffer at least one healthcare-acquired infection on any given today, according to the Centers for Disease Control. About 75,000 patients with HAIs died during their hospitalization in 2011 alone. That's why an advanced decontamination floor mat got our attention. The Vortex Air WalkMat from Circuit Solutions leaves the old sticky paper mats in the dustbin and instead employs vacuum technology. The Vortex Air WalkMat cleans equipment wheels and the bottom of all types of footwear before and after people enter critical spaces in hospitals, clinics, and operating rooms, as well as cleanrooms and air showers in device manufacturing facilities. Registering the weight of arriving individuals or equipment, retractable balls on the surface of the mat activate the vacuum to remove particles, hair, and debris.

2. 3-D Printed Rapid-Prototyping Molds

Diversified Plastics (Minneapolis)

Booth 2138

3-D printing has been coming of age in the medical device industry. One area where it has already become commonplace is prototyping. Diversified Plastics, an injection molding specialist, has been seeking to take the prototyping to the next level. They use 3-D printing to create injection molds for producing prototypes--a method that combines the best aspects of both technologies. This 3-D injection molding (3-D IM) process enables the molding of prototype parts that are made of the actual resin selected for production. Diversified Plastics also boasts that 3-D IM is faster and more economical than than older methods of constructing soft-steel or aluminum molds.

Diversified Plastics Titan Trainer Mold 3-D IM
(Image courtesy of Diversified Plastics)

3. A Super Precise Knife Barrel Hinge

Liquidmetal Technologies (Rancho Santa Margarita, CA)

Booth 2432

Sometimes a much better crafted component has the potential to make a big difference. The Liquidmetal Hybrid Knife, which launched in fall 2015, includes a patent-pending barrel hinge that reduced part count for the knife to two, versus the multiple components typically required of barrel hinges. The transition between the open and closed position of the blade and its protector is at a smooth and precise 12.7 µm. Says Liquidmetal: "There are a broad range of medical device applications that could benefit from the barrel hinge, coupled with the design flexibility, precision, and material properties of Liquidmetal alloy. Many endoscopic devices today rely on opening and closing end-effectors whether it be for suturing, cutting, clamping, gripping, or sealing tissue."

Liquidmetal Knife
(Image courtesy of Liquidmetal Technologies)

4. A Mobile Health Breast Cancer Screening Solution

Pressure Profile Systems (Los Angeles)

Booth 2538

Mobile health offers a host of opportunities to better diagnose and treat diseases. So when a company touts a digital health device related to breast cancer, which kills tens of thousands of U.S. women annually, it is worth taking notice. The SureTouch system is a cloud-based medical device that includes a wireless handheld touch sensor, touch screen display, and a clinical information system to support telemedical consultations. The SureTouch's proprietary tactile sensor technology creates a high-resolution, handheld pressure sensor array that together with processing algorithms is able to identify masses in breast tissue. Says Pressure Profile Systems: "This digital, enhanced sense of 'touch,' allowsSureTouch to dramatically improve upon the limit of lesion size and depth detectable by conventional manual palpation techniques."

Zeus LCP Braiding
(Image courtesy of Zeus)

5. Non-Metallic Braid Reinforcement for Vascular Catheters

Zeus (Orangeburg, SC)

Booth 2105

Better visualization of soft tissue is needed more than ever as minimally invasive medical procedures increase in complexity. That means MRI compatibility. Enter Zeus with its LCP monofilament fiber, which Zeus is launching at MD&M Minneapolis. The LCP fiber boasts the performance of stainless steel wire braiding used in catheters for vascular procedures--without actually using metal. The LCP monofilament is braided over a catheter base liner during construction to provide mechanical strength and support, with the braiding then covered with a layer of Pebax or another nylon jacketing material reflowed under heat shrink. The reflow and bonding process causes the braiding to become fused between the nylon bonding material and underlying liner, achieving structural reinforcement. Zeus's proprietary processes are able to create a fiber with extremely low potential for fraying. 

Chris Newmarker is senior editor of Qmed. Follow him on Twitter at @newmarker.

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[Top "innovation" image courtesy of thinkpublic on Flickr]

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