Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Monitoring broken bones without using electronics - A wireless bone monitor

27.10.2008
The novel sensor is intended one day to help doctors monitor broken bones as they grow back together. Depending on the values of the forces measured by the sensor, they can decide whether the healing process is progressing normally or whether there is a danger that the fracture or implants might be overloaded.

Until now doctors have used expensive and complicated electronic devices which sent the measured data to the outside world as radio signals. On the other hand, according to Felix Gattiker of Empa’s Electronics, Metrology and Reliability Laboratory, an electronics-free sensor offers many advantages – not least of the financial kind. In the new Empa sensor the data is read out by means of an ultrasonic scanner.

The solution is in the form of a small, hollow spiral which sits on the implant together with a fluid reservoir. When the implant is subject to compression or tension the level of fluid in the spiral changes. This level is measured with the help of an ultrasonic device, and the resulting data allows the mechanical loading on the implant to be calculated.

The ultrasonic image is, however, too indistinct to allow the fluid level to be determined visually, so the Empa researchers decided to analyze the ultrasonic signal in more detail. They quickly found a dependence between the ultrasonic echo generated over the complete spiral and the actual fill level – the weaker the ultrasonic echo measured, the higher the level, and therefore the greater the force acting on the sensor.

Further research is already in the pipeline

The sensor produces reliable measurement data, as numerous experiments with artificial tissues – mixtures of gelling agent, glass ballotini and graphite powder, which depending on the mixing ratios allow different types of tissue to be simulated – have demonstrated. Not only that, it is also economic to manufacture, being very much cheaper than the existing electronic versions. The next step is to test the accuracy of the new method using various animal tissues, since each material has its own acoustic signature because it reflects and absorbs ultrasonic energy differently.

In addition, the Empa scientists are investigating the idea of making the sensor out of biodegradable materials, in which case the device would simply dissolve away in the patient’s body after completing its task. The surgeon need not therefore sharpen his scalpel a second time, there being no need to remove the sensor when the fracture has healed! And finally, there is the outstanding matter of finding an industrial partner to manufacture the sensors and integrate them into the implants.

Remigius Nideroest | alfa
Further information:
http://www.empa.ch
http://www.empa.ch/plugin/template/empa/1142/75011/---/l=2/changeLang=true/lartid=75011/orga=/type=/theme=/bestellbar=/new_abt=/uacc=

More articles from Medical Engineering:

nachricht New insight into the brain’s hidden depths: Jena scientists develop minimally-invasive endoscope
27.11.2018 | Leibniz-Institut für Photonische Technologien e. V.

nachricht New China and US studies back use of pulse oximeters for assessing blood pressure
21.11.2018 | University of British Columbia

All articles from Medical Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Data storage using individual molecules

Researchers from the University of Basel have reported a new method that allows the physical state of just a few atoms or molecules within a network to be controlled. It is based on the spontaneous self-organization of molecules into extensive networks with pores about one nanometer in size. In the journal ‘small’, the physicists reported on their investigations, which could be of particular importance for the development of new storage devices.

Around the world, researchers are attempting to shrink data storage devices to achieve as large a storage capacity in as small a space as possible. In almost...

Im Focus: Data use draining your battery? Tiny device to speed up memory while also saving power

The more objects we make "smart," from watches to entire buildings, the greater the need for these devices to store and retrieve massive amounts of data quickly without consuming too much power.

Millions of new memory cells could be part of a computer chip and provide that speed and energy savings, thanks to the discovery of a previously unobserved...

Im Focus: An energy-efficient way to stay warm: Sew high-tech heating patches to your clothes

Personal patches could reduce energy waste in buildings, Rutgers-led study says

What if, instead of turning up the thermostat, you could warm up with high-tech, flexible patches sewn into your clothes - while significantly reducing your...

Im Focus: Lethal combination: Drug cocktail turns off the juice to cancer cells

A widely used diabetes medication combined with an antihypertensive drug specifically inhibits tumor growth – this was discovered by researchers from the University of Basel’s Biozentrum two years ago. In a follow-up study, recently published in “Cell Reports”, the scientists report that this drug cocktail induces cancer cell death by switching off their energy supply.

The widely used anti-diabetes drug metformin not only reduces blood sugar but also has an anti-cancer effect. However, the metformin dose commonly used in the...

Im Focus: New Foldable Drone Flies through Narrow Holes in Rescue Missions

A research team from the University of Zurich has developed a new drone that can retract its propeller arms in flight and make itself small to fit through narrow gaps and holes. This is particularly useful when searching for victims of natural disasters.

Inspecting a damaged building after an earthquake or during a fire is exactly the kind of job that human rescuers would like drones to do for them. A flying...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

ICTM Conference 2019: Digitization emerges as an engineering trend for turbomachinery construction

12.12.2018 | Event News

New Plastics Economy Investor Forum - Meeting Point for Innovations

10.12.2018 | Event News

EGU 2019 meeting: Media registration now open

06.12.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Pressure tuned magnetism paves the way for novel electronic devices

18.12.2018 | Materials Sciences

New type of low-energy nanolaser that shines in all directions

18.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

NASA research reveals Saturn is losing its rings at 'worst-case-scenario' rate

18.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>