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Design Talk: Micro-Miniature Circuits Prolong Life and Improve Quality of Life

Wed, 08/05/2009 - 10:44am
Randolph J. Sablich

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Randolph J. Sablich is the VP/GM of DRC Metrigraphics. Visit DRC Metrigraphics at www.drc.com/metrigraphics.

A question that we often get asked is how can micro-miniature circuits be applied to medical devices? With our technologies, we can generate devices with feature sizes in the two to five micron ranges. This opens a whole new field of miniaturization for the medical device designer.

For example, miniaturization gives medical device manufacturers the ability to provide tools that prolong life and improve quality of life. Examples of helping to prolong life would include blood glucose sensors for monitoring and controlling a diabetic's sugar levels. In the field of cardiology, miniaturization has allowed catheter manufacturers the ability to develop more precise and higher resolution imaging devices for cleaning and repairing blocked arteries leading to the heart. Another example in the cardiology field is devices used for repairing defects in the heart. Much like a catheter used in angioplasty, these devices can be inserted through the artery and into the heart chamber.

As for improving the quality of life, there are several conditions like Tourette syndrome and others that can be quite debilitating to the patient. Today, more and more of these conditions can be treated and controlled through neurostimulation. This requires the implantation of complex miniature electronics and electrode devices directly into the affected areas. These advances in fabrication technologies give device manufacturers the ability to meet the ever-changing demands of today's medical challenges.


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