November 13, 2009

3 Min Read
Self-powering nanogenerators

Originally Published MPMN November/December 2009


Top 20 Technologies of 2009


To celebrate another exciting year in medtech innovation, MPMN editors have compiled a list of their picks for the top technologies of 2009. To do so, we reviewed our extensive blog coverage of all of the emerging technologies to come out of the lab this year with the potential to truly impact medical device design and development in the future. There were so many breakthroughs at the R&D level in 2009 that we couldn’t include them all; however, we selected a cross-section of developments that we think show promise for someday enhancing patient care and improving medical products.

Do you like our picks for the top technologies of 2009? Disagree whole-heartedly? Click on the indicated blog posts to read more about the individual technologies and weigh in with your praise or arguments in the comments section.

Self-powering nanogenerators

Innovator: Georgia Tech (Atlanta)

Why it’s unique: This exciting technology poses a solution to the longstanding difficulty associated with miniaturizing nanosensors’ batteries and integrated circuits. Researchers hope to overcome this limitation by developing minuscule piezoelectric generators that will enable nanosensors to power themselves, ensuring that they will remain good candidates for many medical device applications because of their sensitivity and low power consumption.

Read more about this technology.

Sugar- and silver-based antimicrobial coatings

Innovator: Università degli Studi di Trieste (Italy)

Why it’s unique: Because of their cytotoxicity, silver nanoparticles can have an adverse effect on the body. A groundbreaking noncytotoxic nanocomposite hydrogel technology based on the polysaccharide alginate and silver nanoparticles appears to be nontoxic toward three different eukaryotic cell lines. The nanocomposite materials can solve the cytotoxicity problem by creating a gel structure that immobilizes the metal nanoparticles and ions within the material.

Read more about this technology.


Algae-based battery

Innovator: Uppsala University (Sweden)

Why it’s unique: A novel invention constructed primarily from algae, paper, and salt-water, thin and flexible batteries use thin mats of tangled cellulose fibers as electrodes and a saline solution as an electrolyte. A potentially inexpensive and environmentally friendly alternative to lithium batteries, algae-based batteries may eventually be used to power cheap medical diagnostic devices such as wireless sensors and medical implants.

Read more about this technology.


Biodegradable metallic-glass material for implantable devices

Innovator: Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (Zurich)

Why it’s unique: Devices that fulfill a designated function and then dissolve in the body without consequence are desirable to the medical community for improved patient care. Although such polymer-based products have enjoyed some success, the development of biodegradable metal-based implants, which offer mechanical strength, has been stymied. Magnesium—the top contender for such applications—has been linked with releasing potentially detrimental hydrogen ions as it corrodes. By creating a magnesium-zinc-calcium alloy, however, Swiss researchers have found a way to provide metal-based biodegradable implants that have not exhibited hydrogen evolution in clinical trials. A whole new wave of implants could be in the future.

Read more about this technology.


Environmentally friendly gold nanoparticles

Innovator: University of Missouri (Columbia, MO)

Why it’s unique: With the growth of technologies that rely on gold nanoparticles, scientists are searching for methods of producing the material that spare the environment. Contributing to this interesting field, scientists have discovered how to create gold nanoparticles by submersing gold salts in water and then adding soybeans. This completely green process does not use chemicals other than gold salts, soybeans, and water.

Read more about this technology.

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