Medical device innovation doesn’t just come from small, single-product startups – contract manufacturers are increasingly a part of developing truly disruptive medtech. 

Chris Newmarker, Managing Editor

People sometimes make the mistake of viewing innovation as the product of a few geniuses and mavericks. But in fact, it is often the result of teamwork, as the writer Walter Isaacson brilliantly explained in The Innovators, his 2014 book about the digital revolution.

Whether it was teams of people at IBM or Microsoft or Apple, the digital revolution was the result of the efforts of many people, Issacson wrote.

The same thing can be said about medical device innovation, too. Medtech advances are often the result of collaboration, and contract manufacturers are increasingly being brought into the fold to contribute.

Here are 7 recent innovations out of medtech contract manufacturers that have the potential to truly benefit the industry.

1. Heraeus: A printable and flexible smart sensor

Heraeus (St. Paul, Minn.) is touting new printable and flexible smart sensor technology that has two major benefits: It is cost effective and medical device companies can easily add it to existing designs. In other words, there is no need to design around it.

“With this ground-breaking new sensing technology, we currently see great opportunities to add functionalities in a variety of applications such as catheters, health-monitoring wearables and robotics-assisted surgical procedures. Imagine a device with this new sensing technology providing a tactile feeling to a catheter or surgical robot,” said Stefan Schibli, sensor development program manager at Heraeus.

Heraeus officials say the sensor technology is so hassle-free because it can be put into any form and shape – and it is printable. Even better, the sensor and actually be printed or over-molded into the device – actually replacing part of its polymeric body. A manufacturer can use the same substrate as before and mix it with Heraeus’s sensor matrix to seamlessly integrate the sensor.

The smart sensor technology includes two main elements:

Plus, the materials used in the technology are biocompatible, so there is no need for encapsulation.



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