Google Enters the Smart Medical Device Market with a Contact Lens

The market for smart medical devices continues moving forward at a rapid pace. Google just announced a new contact lens for diabetics. Here is the official announcement from Google. Modern Grinding is pleased to be a part of the smart medical device market from the manufacturing end of the spectrum. While we haven’t built anything close to a smart contact, we have assembled several wire products for monitoring internal vascular signals.

Google is seeking FDA approval for the smart contact lens which will be able to monitor glucose levels via tears that are captured in a sensor between two contact lenses. The device then has tiny led lights which will light up when glucose levels are out of range.  For fun, we wanted to try to reverse engineer how someone would make this type of smart medical device.

Glucose Sensors

IEEE Life Sciences notes a paper from February of 2012 with a MEMS affinity sensor for detection of glucose. Its length and width are each approximately 750 µm. 750 µm equates to approximately .75 millimeters, which is small but noticable. I assume the reaserchers at Google can acheive a smaller footprint it they absolutely need to –

Micro LED Light MEMS

There are a lot of micro LED light options, here is one source but this might be too large Personally, it seems like having the contact lens report back information is overkill. There is an antenna on the contact, if there is the ability to transmit information wirelessly, to say Google Glass, that might be the best option. I  can understand why Google would want to pursue this as it might be the beginnings of Google Glass in contacts, but it seems like overkill.

If any readers have additional information about how this product might be made, please send them along. Modern Grinding manufactures electrodes and wires for smart medical devices and smart guidewires.


Taper Wire

For this edition of The Wire we thought it was fitting to demystify taper wire both from a manufacturing standpoint and a medical standpoint.

Taper Manufacturing

To my knowledge, the best way to taper wire is still though the OD (outside diameter) grinding process. There may by 3d printers which can build tapers through an additive process but for small precision medical wires, the best way to taper is by grinding off material around the radius of the wire. From a cost standpoint, having a guidewire with a taper is going to be more expensive than just having a straight wire since there is an added manufacturing component to the product. Calling out specific dimensions on your taper drawing can be difficult for your manufacturer to achieve. Most often the tapers that we achieve have generalized specifications such as when the taper begins and when it ends. If you are trying to achieve specific taper angles, make sure to talk through these angles with your manufacturer in advance to make sure that there are not extra costs and time constraints to doing so.

Tapers in Medical Devices

The use of mandrel tapers, guidewire tapers and stylet tapers has grown more prevalent as precision manufacturing process has evolved. From a medical maneuverability stand point, doctors may have an easier time using taper wire. Tapering wire enables the wire to have different characteristics such as flexibility and firmness. As an example, we have manufactured wire from from .024″ down to .001″ in diameter. Taper wire can be more atraumatic than the alternative since if you are putting inside of a vessel a smaller tip may be easier to fit in than the full radius of the wire.

If you have questions about tapering your next guidewire, stylet or mandrel don’t hesitate to reach out, we can help. We have manufactured flexible guidewires, superstiff guidewires, stiff guidewires, taper wire, taper coil and any other type of wire you can imagine.

501(K) Spinal Device Approvals

Congratulations to companies who received 510(K) approval this November. Modern Grinding is going to try and list smaller companies who receive approval for spine devices on a monthly basis as a means to provide a view into the newest and latest products on the market:

Company/Product Description: If you have neck or back pain, you’ve come to the right place. Our Physical Therapists are experts in diagnosing and rehabilitating spinal injuries. We specialize in pre and post surgical rehabilitation, neck and back injuries, and chronic pain.

Company: Integrity Spine
Company/Product Description: Integrity Spine is a medical device company focused on advancing the products and technologies used in spinal procedures.

Company: Seaspine, Inc.
Company/Product Description:

Integra LifeSciences, a world leader in medical technology, is dedicated to limiting uncertainty for surgeons, so they can concentrate on providing the best patient care. Integra offers innovative solutions in orthopedic extremity surgery, neurosurgery, spine surgery, and reconstructive and general surgery.

Integra’s orthopedic products include devices and implants for spine, foot and ankle, hand and wrist, shoulder and elbow, tendon and peripheral nerve protection and repair, and wound repair. Integra is a leader in neurosurgery, offering a broad portfolio of implants, devices, instruments and systems used in neurosurgery, neuromonitoring, neurotrauma, and related critical care. In the United States, Integra is a leading provider of surgical instruments to hospitals, surgery centers and alternate care sites, including physician and dental offices.

Company/Product Description: The APEX Spine System is comprised of implants and instruments for stabilization of the spine during fusion in the thoracic, lumbar and sacral regions.

Company/Product Description: We combine the experience of surgeons with the ingenuity of engineers to design and develop devices and instruments for spinal fusion and less exposure surgery (LES). Our founding surgeons are involved in every step of the product development cycle, collaborating with our innovation team to create intelligent solutions.

Company/Product Description: The ZIP features articulating bone anchors, a one-step locking mechanism with no set screw and a large graft space designed for biologic material. It is designed for stabilization during T1-S1 lumbar fusion procedures, specifically for the treatment of degenerative disc disease, spondylolisthesis, spinal tumors and trauma. The ZIP is available in various sizes to accommodate different patient anatomy.

Company/Product Description: NLT SPINE specializes in the development of innovative spine surgery instrumentation and implants for treating degenerative spinal conditions through small surgical incisions. The company’s vision is to improve patient care and reduce total treatment costs by ultimately shifting from traditional open surgical routines to MISS, employing new methods and technologies to enhance usability and outcomes.

Led by top international leaders in spinal surgery, NLT SPINE holds a wide portfolio of pending and issued patents that cover the non-linear core technology and related implant and instrument technologies.

Company/Product Description: Marketed for the treatment of spinal pathologies (scoliosis, spondylolythesis, traum..) , the PASS LP® thoraco-lumbar fixation system allows to connect the rod at distance from the spine and to perform a 3D correction through progressive stress distribution on all anchorages thanks to the ST2R technique (Simultaneous Translation on 2 Rods).

Company/Product Description:  The ANAX 5.5 Spinal System is a top-loading multiple component, posterior spinal fixation system which consist of pedicle screws, rods, set screws, connectors, and a transverse (cross) linking mechanism. The ANAX 5.5 Spinal System allows surgeons to build a spinal implant construct to stabilize and promote spinal fusion.

– Top loading for easy introduction of 5.5 mm diameter rod
– A low-profile polyaxial screw head
– Rounded screw head allowing up to 65degrees of angulation
– Double-lead threaded screw for its fast insertion
– No complication but efficiency self tap of the screw
– No cross threading of the set screw
– Rod available in titanium and cobalt chromium (CoCr)

Company/Product Description:  CoreLink designs and manufactures precision surgical instruments and implants with a single goal: to deliver the highest quality products to enable surgeons to provide the best possible outcomes.

Medical BioMEMS & MEMS Fabrication

As a continuation to our previous post, we wanted to elaborate on some of the exciting systems we are developing for clients in the medical industry. MEMS stands for microelectromechanical system. Motion, pressure, and flow sensors are providing advanced functionality to a multitude of medical applications.

Modern Grinding comes into play since many researchers use our wires to correctly place MEMS in the body. In addition to using our wires for placement, wires can be used as a means to send a signal to the MEMS or receive a signal from the MEMS. By minimizing power consumption, enhancing precision, and allowing for more-intelligent devices, MEMS inertial sensing has moved to the forefront of medical device enabling technologies in recent years.

Outside of the body, the wire connects to a small pcb board which receives or sends the signals across different wires. This enables a medical clinician to read results and move the MEMS or correctly diagnose.

Modern Grinding has the capability to make wire forms which connect to MEMS and allow them to travel through narrow passage ways. Some of our sensors have been enclosed inside of coils with radiopaque markers.  Modern Grinding also has the ability to connect this wire to an external PCB board. It’s actually a fairly simple process, if you have the right equipment.

Some of the MEMS we have seen include cardio MEMS, pressure MEMS, flow MEMS, vibrating MEMS, antenna MEMS, photonic sensors and barometer MEMs.


Custom Manufactured Surgical Components (Pins, Screws, Needles and Wires)

Companies make customized clothes to fit perfectly, why not the products that go inside of our bodies? At Modern Grinding, some of our pins, screws and needles are made for short term disposable purposes, lasting just a few weeks. Others remain in place for years until a fracture is correctly set. Why not make custom manufactured surgical components that fit snuggly into the patients system?

Imagine a world where surgical products are custom built for the patient on demand. We are getting closer to this possibility every day, and in some cases, doctors are customizing 3d surgical products, as was recently the case at the University of Michigan –

We are excited about the possibilities and we are not sitting on our hands waiting for them to come. If you are a doctor who has ideas to test out with just in time custom manufactured parts for surgery, please contact us and lets make a better tomorrow. Our manufacturing process is built for short lead time pins, screws, needles and wires. We would love to explore the future while helping write it.