At the time of this writing I am just back from MD&M West in Anaheim. What a pleasure to meet with representatives from so many of the companies who have graced these pages and more still to come. This, coming right after BIOS/Photonics West in San Francisco, officially kicks off the medical device conference season, which culminates with BIOMEDevice in San Jose in December.

In between, there’s MD&M Florida and the Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons in March, BIOMEDevice/ Design & Mfg. and Design of Medical Devices in April, Biocompatibility and Performance of Medical Devices in May, MD&M East in June, MD&M Texas in July, MEDevice and MD&M Chicago in September, and MD&M Minneapolis in October, among others.

At the sessions and in private talks, we discussed lots of advances in materials, including polymer bioabsorbability and antimicrobial solutions to thwart infections, new production processes, assembly and automation, applications for telehealth, regulatory submission and approval procedures, implementing the UDI rule, the 2.3% excise tax, and a host of other topics. You’ll see much more about these issues soon.

About 35 miles from Anaheim is Hollywood, where the Academy Awards were given out one week later. Taking the Oscar for Best Directing, Cinematography, and Special Effects categories was “Life of Pi,” a literal and figurative journey into the unknown, which showcased rather brilliantly how special effects can make the unreal appear amazingly realistic, including a computer-generated Bengal tiger and other zoo animals, and terrestrial, aquatic, and celestial displays.

Back down to earth, this issue features two modeling/simulation articles that also employ computer-aided technologies used to bring the real into even greater focus. A heart simulator that renders the heart as an interactive 3D structure allows the user to visualize its inner workings in pulsing detail, practice scoping procedures, and diagnose valvular heart disease.

A newly FDA-approved interactive surgical rehearsal platform permits surgeons to practice extremely complex neurosurgery using the patient’s own medical scans so that individually, or in concert with other surgeons linked together from locations as remote as a city or even a continent away, they can collaborate, visualize, plan, and practice every aspect of the surgery knowing exactly what they will encounter during the actual operation. The tissue “responds” to the instruments, and provides realistic haptic feedback. The stunning detail of these technologies helps to make the internal workings of the body spectacular onscreen and provide a journey “into the known” for their users.

Beth G. Sisk


Medical Design Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the April, 2013 issue of Medical Design Briefs Magazine.

Read more articles from this issue here.

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