Contact us at 440.237.0160 or online
Valco Valley Tool & Die, Inc. Valco Valley Tool & Die, Inc.
Contact us at 440-237-0160 or online

The Top 10 Medical Device Innovations for 2016

Major medical innovations of 2016

Brought to You By Valco, a Trusted Partner of the Medical Device Industry

As a full-service metal manufacturing company, we have been offering worthwhile manufacturing solutions to a variety of industries for over four decades, with one of the most rewarding fields we’ve worked with being health care.

From wheelchairs to walkers and other medical devices, our team is dedicated to manufacturing fasteners that are reliable and strong and fulfill our clients’ exacting needs.

With our in-house manufacturing and state-of-the-art technology, we are proud to offer over 1,000 types of medical device snap buttons. Our team produces these snap buttons to go hand-in-hand with new medical innovations, and our medical device snap buttons are manufactured with the needs of physicians and patients in mind.

So now, let’s take a look at some of the medical innovations that are soon coming to the medical device field.

2016: A Year for Medical Device Technology

Because we work so closely with the medical device industry, we always aim to keep up on the latest innovations happening within it, and in 2016, there have been a number of striking medical device technology innovations worth paying attention to. With that in mind, here are 10 innovations from this year that we have been watching.

1. Virtual Reality Within Health Care

Virtual reality has gained major traction in 2016 within the entertainment and gaming industries, but medical professionals have also been incorporating the augmented stimulations into their day-to-day routines. Some key insights to keep in mind include:
  • VR allows for everything from physicians being instantly greeted with 3D images of a patient’s brain structure before surgery to providing children’s games during physical therapy sessions to offering social cognition training for patients with autism.
  • With the potential to completely change the health care environment and even save lives, virtual reality sets have quickly become pieces of medical device technology worth acquiring. The global market for virtual reality in healthcare has been projected to reach $3.8 billion in the U.S. by 2020 according to Global Industry Analysis.
As you can see, virtual reality has proven itself as a viable tool in the medical device industry, with no indication of going away any time soon.

2. Advances in Treatment for Strokes

When a patient has a stroke, timing is everything. It is vital for the blood clot to be removed within three to six hours to prevent long-term disabilities. That being said, 2016 has brought about new medical device technology that could treat strokes in a safe and timely manner.

Neurovascular stent retrievers can now be used as an alternative to stroke treatment by being inserted in the body via a catheter and threaded through the blood stream. From there, the retriever can seize the blood clot and remove it.

An increase in patients with strokes, positive reviews of the tool within studies, and a rise in health care funding are just a few factors that predict the market for these retrievers will remain robust in the future.

3. Medical Robots Continuing to Make Strides

Using robots within the medical field isn’t anything new; studies showing robots as a contributing part of heart surgeries go back to at least 2008.

But with medical device technology evolving every year, it only makes sense that robots would also continue to evolve. 2016’s robot innovations for the medical industry have proven this assessment to be correct.

A couple examples of medical device innovations for robots include:

  • The Smart Tissue Autonomous Robot (STAR) has made significant advances in the surgery room. STAR offers fluorescent lighting, a 3D model with several camera perspectives, a robotic arm with 8 degrees of freedom (one more than a human’s 7) and more.
  • The TUG Robot has been featured in the list of “Smart Machines Market in the Americas 2016-2020” by Research and Markets. TUG is able to carry over 400 kilograms of medication in hospitals, allowing nurses more time to spend with patients and less time hauling around heavy equipment.
With sales for medical robots expected to double to $6.4 billion by 2020, the interactive machines are a medical innovation that are expected to see an annual growth rate of 10.2 percent from 2014-2020.

4. Needle-free Diabetes Care

For those living with diabetes, monitoring blood sugar comes with a routine needle prick to your finger. Various medical device innovations have brought about ways to check your glucose levels without the discomfort.

As of February 2016, Australian company Abbott has received CE marking (a declaration that the product complies with European health and safety regulations) for their needle-free FreeStyle Libre glucose monitoring system designed for children ages 4-17 with diabetes.

This is a positive step forward for those with the condition. As 2016 continues, this medical innovation gives patients hope that devices like the FreeStyle Libre will be implemented for use in other countries.

5. Brain-powered Prosthetics

A sizeable amount of the American population has prosthetic limbs, with as many as 100,000 people living with an upper arm amputation. Within the last few years, medical device news has featured researchers who detected that signals associated with limb movement can be decoded via a computer. Some key developments of this include:

  • Scientists have recently been able to implant muscles with these decoded sensors that can help move an artificial limb just by thinking about it, mimicking natural limb function.
  • During 2016, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, has partnered with DEKA Research and Development to develop a prosthetic arm controlled via these decoded sensors.

These innovations have meant great things for people like this military veteran, whose DEKA arm is controlled by sensors mounted on his shoe. More medical innovations for the field of prosthetics are only expected to grow as time continues.

6. At-home Smart First Aid Kits

A typical first aid kit comes with equipment such as gauze and bandages of all sizes. With medical innovations occurring daily, it makes sense that a smart first aid kit would be in production.

Medical device technology takes an advanced turn with GALE, an interactive first aid assistant which offers a variety of organized medical supplies, a smartphone to call for help, and a touchscreen display that can be used to access medical directions for emergencies such as fractures or burns, plus many other features.

As of July 2016, GALE has launched a new website and is being showcased at a variety of trade shows and exhibits to get the marketing for this new product started.

7. 3D Printing in the Medical Device Industry

3D printing technology has been developing for years, but this year has seen significant advances toward effective printing in the medical field. This type of printing has many benefits for medical professionals such as more thorough testing possibilities and an ability to create accurate medical models as a visual for students and patients.

As of June 2016, a 3D model of a heart was successfully printed, paving the way for amazing things in the medical field. Other examples of 3D printing in the medical device industry include:

  • Bone models – Orthopedic surgeons can print out 3D models of bones within a matter of hours to show patients how they will be treated pre-surgery.
  • Ultrasounds – Expecting parents wanting to see their baby while it is still in the womb can now have the fetus image scanned from an ultrasound converted into a 3D model as memorabilia.

8. Advancement in Essential Tremor Treatment

Patients with essential tremor, a nervous system disorder that causes involuntary shaking, can seek treatment from various medications. However, for those who do not respond to said medications, there is now another option.

Insightec, a company based in Israel, offers its MRI-guided ultrasound system as an alternative treatment by delivering sound waves to brain tissues that cause improper neural signals. Treatment is short and results are seen within seconds.

In July 2016, following approval by the FDA, this new form of treatment reached medical device news outlets, causing major strides for those afflicted with the condition.

9. Food Scanners to Reach Marketplaces

Food scanners such as Tellspec and Scio have been available as prototypes for the last couple years, but 2016 marks the first year these sensors are available to order.

What do these food scanners do?
  • Customers can simply hold the scanner up to a food item and the unit will scan it at a molecular level, identifying its chemical makeup, macronutrients, allergens, calories and more.
  • The scanner is connected to a smart phone app loaded with information about your meal, making it incredibly convenient for those trying to stay healthy.
This development is considered a breakthrough for those with allergies, those looking to lose or gain weight and for foodies everywhere.

10. More Effective Treatments for Chronic Pain

Good news is coming for those who suffer from chronic pain. Recent medical innovations have brought about another safe, drug-free treatment for such pain – spinal cord stimulation.

This treatment implants a small device into the body and sends a low-voltage electrical stimulation to the spine in order to block any feelings of pain.

With another option to treat chronic pain now available to patients, this is a step forward toward reducing the pain that many live with on a daily basis.

Count on Valco for Reliable Medical Snap Buttons

As medical device technology continues to grow into advanced solutions for patients, it is our goal to evolve our products to correspond with the new equipment being introduced to the medical industry.

To learn more about our medical device snap buttons, be sure to contact us today.