Happy Friday!

This week’s med-tech roundup includes all the tech news that you missed this week! Read up on a new ultrasound technique used to “jump start” the brain, WII boards helping paralyzed men to walk again, Octobots and much more!

These are the stories you need to catch up on.

Nanoparticles Help Platelets Stick Together to Stop Bleeding

At this week’s 252nd National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society researchers from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County reported on the development of nanoparticles that can help speed up blood clotting. So far tested only on pig’s blood, the goal of the research is to provide clinicians with a more effective way of treating internal bleeding.

The new nanoparticles took an effort to create because besides promoting activated platelets to link together, they have to spread out when injected and not cause an immune response. A special molecule attached to each nanoparticle sticks to a glycoprotein produced by activated platelets, providing the particles’ targeting abilities. But because the nanoparticles stuck to each other, the team added a slick polymer to prevent them from immediately aggregating.

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Nanoparticles (green) help form clots in an injured liver. The researchers added color to the scanning electron microscopy image after it was taken. Credit: Erin Lavik, Ph.D.

October: A Completely Soft and Flexible Robot May One Day Invade Our Bodies

Harvard University researchers built what they describe as the world’s first completely soft robot. The device looks like an octopus and is appropriately named October. Though it resembles a toy, the core technology within it may one day be used for medical applications such as minimally invasive surgery and imaging of the GI tract. Read more

Instead of a battery, the robot uses a chemical reaction fueled by hydrogen peroxide to power its movement, which happens inside a 3D printed network made of a composition of different materials.

Levita Magnetic System Eliminates an Incision for Some Laparoscopic Surgeries

Having received regulatory approval in Europe and now de novo clearance in the U.S., Levita Magnetics, a company headquartered in San Mateo, California, is releasing its magnetic surgical system. The instrument is inserted like other laparoscopic devices, but the tool on the tip can be detached from the shaft and moved around independently using an external magnet.It has the first indication for laparoscopic cholecystectomy, offering the benefit of removing one incision from the procedure.

The instrument is used to grab onto the gallbladder like in a traditional laparoscopic way. It is then disconnected from the shaft while still holding onto the organ and the magnet used to pull on it. By manipulating the magnet, the surgeon exposes the rest of the organ and makes it possible to make cuts that would otherwise be hidden.

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Designed to magnetically retract and maneuver the gallbladder, eliminating the need for a dedicated trocar and shafted instrumentation that may clutter the operative field during a reduced port laparoscopic cholecystectomy procedure.

Scientists Activate Brain of Patient Coming Out of Coma

At the University of California, Los Angeles clinical researchers have successfully used focused ultrasound to “jump-start” the brain of a man coming out of a coma. The 25-year-old patient was barely conscious once he woke up from the coma, but soon after the initiation of treatment his condition improved measurably.

The ultrasound approach was tried as an alternative to deep brain stimulation that actually requires conductive metal leads to reach the thalamus. Deep brain stimulation can be both difficult and dangerous, so any opportunity for alternatives is very exciting.

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This Paraplegic Man Used A WII Balance Board To Stand Again

Exoskeleton technology is a promising one for people to get up on their feet and start walking. Though they may look like autonomous robotic devices, the exoskeletons are controlled by the user and still require balance skills to not fall over. This is difficult for patients that have no sensations in legs and feet as they don’t have the feedback that tells them if they are spreading their weight evenly.

Now researchers at the Institute for Human & Machine Cognition (IHMC) in Florida are using a Nintendo Wii Balance Board to help exoskeleton users to practice their balancing skills. It looks like the researchers are using existing Wii Fit Plus games that focus on balance, which means if the technique works it can be easily used by any rehab center relying on exoskeletons.

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A full spinal cord injury robbed him of any sensation below the midsection, but with the aid of an exoskeleton from IHMC, the Florida Institute for Human & Machine Cognition, Mark is able to stand on a Wii Balance Board for balance training.

Originally published at www.touchsurgery.com on August 26, 2016.