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Category Archives: Neurotechnology
Posted: July 26, 2017 at 1:27 am
Stryker Corporation (NYSE: SYK) and Trivascular Technologies (NASDAQ:TRIV) are both medical companies, but which is the superior business? We will compare the two businesses based on the strength of their risk, institutional ownership, dividends, valuation, earnings, profitabiliy and analyst recommendations.
This is a breakdown of current ratings for Stryker Corporation and Trivascular Technologies, as provided by MarketBeat.
Stryker Corporation presently has a consensus price target of $139.21, suggesting a potential downside of 4.69%. Given Stryker Corporations higher probable upside, equities research analysts plainly believe Stryker Corporation is more favorable than Trivascular Technologies.
Stryker Corporation pays an annual dividend of $1.70 per share and has a dividend yield of 1.2%. Trivascular Technologies does not pay a dividend. Stryker Corporation pays out 38.2% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. Trivascular Technologies has raised its dividend for 6 consecutive years.
Insider and Institutional Ownership
74.3% of Stryker Corporation shares are owned by institutional investors. 7.4% of Stryker Corporation shares are owned by company insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that large money managers, endowments and hedge funds believe a stock is poised for long-term growth.
This table compares Stryker Corporation and Trivascular Technologies net margins, return on equity and return on assets.
Earnings & Valuation
This table compares Stryker Corporation and Trivascular Technologies gross revenue, earnings per share and valuation.
Stryker Corporation has higher revenue and earnings than Trivascular Technologies.
Stryker Corporation beats Trivascular Technologies on 9 of the 11 factors compared between the two stocks.
About Stryker Corporation
Stryker Corporation is a medical technology company. The Company offers a range of medical technologies, including orthopedic, medical and surgical, and neurotechnology and spine products. The Companys segments include Orthopaedics; MedSurg; Neurotechnology and Spine, and Corporate and Other. The Orthopaedics segment includes reconstructive (hip and knee) and trauma implant systems and other related products. The MedSurg segment includes surgical equipment and surgical navigation systems; endoscopic and communications systems; patient handling, emergency medical equipment, intensive care disposable products; reprocessed and remanufactured medical devices, and other related products. The Neurotechnology and Spine segment includes neurovascular products, spinal implant systems and other related products. The Companys products include implants, which are used in joint replacement and trauma surgeries, and other products that are used in a range of medical specialties.
About Trivascular Technologies
Trivascular Technologies, Inc. is a medical device company developing and commercializing technologies to advance minimally invasive treatment of abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAA). The Ovation System, the Companys solution for the treatment of AAA through minimally invasive endovascular aortic repair, or EVAR, is a stent graft platform, providing an alternative to conventional devices. It is designed to specifically address many of the limitations associated with conventional EVAR devices and expand the pool of patients eligible for EVAR. The Company is developing Ovation iX iliac limbs for use with both its Ovation Prime and its Ovation iX and Alto aortic bodies, which are in development. Trivascular is developing Ovation iX aortic bodies for use with both its Ovation Prime and its Ovation iX iliac limbs. The Company is developing an aortic body that together with the iliac limbs makes up the Ovation Alto stent graft.
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Posted: July 24, 2017 at 8:20 am
Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and electroencephalography (EEG) may detect consciousness in ICU patients with severe traumatic brain injuries when a standard bedside neurological exam comes up short, according to new research at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH).
Studies have suggested that up to 40 percent of patients who have been deemed unconscious may actually be conscious on some level.
While prior research has used fMRI or EEG to detect this sort of covert consciousness in patients who have moved from acute-care hospitals to rehabilitation or nursing care facilities, no such study has been conducted in ICU patients.
In fact, the study is the first to test such an approach in acutely ill patients for whom critical decisions may need to be made regarding the continuation of life-sustaining care.
Early detection of consciousness and brain function in the intensive care unit could allow families to make more informed decisions about the care of loved ones, said Brian Edlow, M.D., of the Center for Neurotechnology and Neurorecovery in the MGH Department of Neurology, co-lead and corresponding author of the study.
Also, since early recovery of consciousness is associated with better long-term outcomes, these tests could help patients gain access to rehabilitative care once they are discharged from an ICU.
For ICU patients with serious brain injuries, the standard bedside neurological examination may inaccurately identify a patient as unconscious for several reasons: the patient may be unable to speak, write or move because of the effects of the injury itself or sedating medications or a clinician may mistake a weak but intentional movement as a reflex response.
For the study, the researchers enrolled 16 patients being cared for in MGH intensive care units after severe traumatic brain injury. Upon enrollment, eight were able to respond to language, three were classified as minimally conscious without language response, three classified as vegetative and two as in a coma.
fMRI studies were conducted as soon as patients were stable enough for the procedure, and EEG readings were taken soon afterwards, ideally but not always within 24 hours. A group of 16 healthy age- and sex-matched volunteers underwent the same procedures as a control group.
The screenings were taken under three experimental conditions. To test for a mismatch between the patients ability to imagine performing a task and their ability to physically express themselves what is called cognitive motor dissociation patients were asked to imagine squeezing and releasing their right hand while in the fMRI scanner and while EEG readings were being taken.
Since it is known that certain parts of the brain can react to sounds even when a person is sleeping or under sedation, the patients were exposed to brief recordings of spoken language and of music during both the fMRI and EEG tests.
These screenings were developed to detect activity in areas of the brain that are part of the higher-order cortex, which interprets the simple signals processed by the primary cortex in this instance not just detecting a sound but potentially recognizing what it is.
Of eight patients who had been classified as unable to respond to language during the traditional bedside examination, the researchers found evidence in four patients of covert consciousness based on the hand-squeeze exercise, including the three originally classified as vegetative.
In two other patients, higher-order cortex activity was seen in response to either language or music. Although higher-order cortical activity doesnt necessarily prove that a patient is conscious, Edlow notes, a response in these brain structures could have implications for a patients future recovery.
Edlow also notes that negative responses to these tests should not be considered a poor likelihood of recovery. For example, about 25 percent of the healthy controls had no detectable brain response during the hand squeeze imagery test, and one of the comatose patients who showed no response to language, music or motor imagery during the early fMRI and EEG tests made a complete recovery 6 months later.
In fact, no links were shown between early brain responses and long-term outcomes, which could be due to the small size of the study or the fact that several patients were sedated during the fMRI and EEG tests.
The findings are published in the journal Brain.
Source: Massachusetts General Hospital
APA Reference Pedersen, T. (2017). fMRI, EEG Tests May Detect Consciousness in Severe TBI Patients. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 24, 2017, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2017/07/24/fmri-eeg-tests-may-detect-consciousness-in-severe-tbi-patients/123683.html
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Posted: July 20, 2017 at 3:19 am
July 19, 2017
For all its resiliency and creativity, the human brain is equally fragile and prone to disease. Millions around the world are affected by neurological and neurodegenerative diseases. In fact, a World Health Organization study found eight out of 10 disorders in the three highest disability classes are linked to neurological problems, a figure likely to increase, as the global elderly population is expected to double by 2050.
In response to this growing need, a new collaboration between Arizona State University, the University of Houston and industry members formed to develop and test new neurotechnologies. Above: From left to right, Professors Jose L. Contreras-Vidal and Marco Santello pose for a photo with Deans Joseph W. Tedesco and Kyle Squires, of the University of Houston's Cullen College of Engineering and ASU's Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering, respectively, at Old Main on the Tempe campus, June 29. Santello and Contreras-Vidal lead the ASU and UH sites for the new National Science Foundation-funded Building Reliable Advancements in Neurotechnology, or BRAIN, an IndustryUniversity Cooperative Research Center. Photo by Jessica Hochreiter/ASU Download Full Image
Building Reliable Advancements in Neurotechnology, or BRAIN, is an IndustryUniversity Cooperative Research Center dedicated to bringing new neurotechnologies and treatments to market. The center was officially funded earlier this year with a $1.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation, and has already attracted nine industry partners.
BRAIN held its first industry advisory board meeting June 2930 on ASUs Tempe campus, bringing together stakeholders to begin charting the course of the collaboration.
Neurodegenerative diseases are one of the biggest challenges society faces today, said Professor Marco Santello at the outset of the meeting. An aim of the center is to not only develop new devices and strategies in the realm of neurotechnology, but validate existing ones as well.
Santello and Professor Jose L. Contreras-Vidal, directors of the respective ASU and UH BRAIN sites, will lead the center, which includes more than 40 faculty members from ASUs Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering and UHs Cullen College of Engineering.
The pair defined the centers five main research areas as neurological clinical research, mobility assessment and clinical intervention, invasive neurotechnology, noninvasive neurotechnology and neurorehabilitation technology.
Santello, who also serves as the director of the School of Biological and Health Systems Engineering, said BRAINs areas of interest are intentionally broad as to fully investigate all potential solutions, approaches, and outcomes related to neurotechnology.
Contreras-Vidal, who also leads UHs Laboratory for Non-invasive Brain-Machine Interface Systems, noted the unique faculty resources that UH and ASU bring together, whose research expertise encompasses neuroscience, invasive and noninvasive interfaces and neuromodulation, neuroimaging, rehabilitation technologies, big data and bioinformatics as well as regulatory science and law and neuroethics.
Though a stable of researchers firmly rooted in neurology, data, device development and clinical trials are essential to BRAINs success, equally important is the inclusion of regulatory law experts. To this end, Contreras-Vidal is leading a Research Collaborative Agreement between UH and the Food and Drug Administration.
Brain activity measurements, such as scalp electroencephalography, have both diagnostic value in and of themselves, and also value as objective endpoints for measuring the efficacy of other medical devices. However, despite their growing importance, very little is known about the constancy and variability of these measurements in real complex settings in healthy individuals and in the patient population. Nevertheless, the efficacy and safety of EEG-based diagnostics and therapeutics depend on such scientific understanding, Contreras-Vidal said. Thus, understanding of the population distribution of EEG-based biometrics is regulatory science that contributes to personalized medicine and to the development of better biomedical devices.
Professor Barbara Evans of UH, whose background includes engineering, earth science and law, will serve as a resource for regulatory processes, issues and strategy, noting its sometimes necessary to think five or 10 years ahead.
This type of work is going to take careful thought about how to address the FDA, and work out regulatory solutions, said Evans, who is also the director of the Center on Biotechnology and Law at UH. The burden of neurocognitive diseases is a pressing problem. While there are pharmaceutical solutions which have promise, there is even greater promise in terms of the research at BRAIN and I believe we have to attack these diseases on every front. The main thing I hope to do is help translate wonderful technology to market and help people.
The nine industry partners include companies such as Medtronic, the CORE Institute, Indus Instruments and Brain Vision LLC, as well as medical institutions such as the Phoenix Childrens Hospital and The Institute for Rehabilitation and Research Memorial Hermann Hospital.
Eric Maas, a Medtronic representative, said his company was drawn to the immense talent pool contained within BRAIN.
This partnership not only benefits Medtronic, but the world, Maas said. Big companies like ours like to go after big problems, but a center like this opens up paths to solve smaller, sometimes overlooked illnesses that deserve attention.
For Dr. David Adelson, director of the Barrow Neurological Institute and chief of pediatric neurosurgery at Phoenix Childrens Hospital, BRAIN has been a long time coming. Adelson has long since been an advocate for bringing cutting-edge research to clinical care, pushing for a center like BRAIN for some time.
So much of medicine is focused on adults and not children, and so much of is applicable to pediatric care, said Adelson, noting that traumatic brain injury is the leading cause of disability and death in children and adolescents in the U.S.
United with invested industry partners, the multifaceted, transdisciplinary research approach of ASU and UH caught the interest of the National Science Foundation as a way to address the big picture challenges of brain research.
The technical expertise of both ASU and UH goes without saying, but both universities did well in bringing together industry members to get this center off the ground, said Dmitri Perkins, director of the NSFs IUCRC program. Brain research is in general an area of great national interest. The NSF looks for centers with potential to deliver great impact in their areas of study as well as the possibility to work with other IUCRCs, universities and industries, and we see that here.
VisitBRAIN onlinefor more information about the center, or contactSantelloandContreras-Vidalto discuss partnership opportunities.
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Posted: July 19, 2017 at 4:18 am
The idea of the human mind as the domain of absolute protection from external intrusion has persisted for centuries. Today, however, this presumption might no longer hold. Sophisticated neuroimaging machines and brain-computer interfaces detect the electrical activity of neurons, enabling us to decode and even alter the nervous system signals that accompany mental processes. Whereas these advances have a great potential for research and medicine, they pose a fundamental ethical, legal and social challenge: determining whether or under what conditions it is legitimate to gain access to or interfere with another person's neural activity.
This question has special social relevance because many neurotechnologies have moved away from a medical setting and into the commercial domain. Attempts to decode mental information via imaging are also occurring in court cases, sometimes in a scientifically questionable way. For example, in 2008 a woman in India was convicted of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment on the basis of a brain scan showing, according to the judge, experiential knowledge about the crime. The potential use of neural technology as a lie detector for interrogation purposes has garnered particular attention. In spite of experts' skepticism, commercial companies are marketing the use of functional MRI- and electroencephalography-based technology to ascertain truth and falsehood. The military is also testing monitoring techniques for another reason: to use brain stimulation to increase a fighter's alertness and attention.
Brain-reading technology can be seen as just another unavoidable trend that erodes a bit more of our personal space in the digital world. But given the sanctity of our mental privacy, we might not be so willing to accept this intrusion. People could, in fact, look at this technology as something that requires the reconceptualization of basic human rights and even the creation of neurospecific rights.
Lawyers are already talking about a right to cognitive liberty. It would entitle people to make free and competent decisions regarding the use of technology that can affect their thoughts. A right to mental privacy would protect individuals against unconsented-to intrusion by third parties into their brain data, as well as against the unauthorized collection of those data. Breaches of privacy at the neural level could be more dangerous than conventional ones because they can bypass the level of conscious reasoning, leaving us without protections from having our mind read involuntarily. This risk applies not only to predatory marketing studies or to courts using such technology excessively but also to applications that would affect general consumers. This last category is growing. Recently Facebook unveiled a plan to create a speech-to-text interface to translate thoughts directly from brain to computer. Similar attempts are being made by companies such as Samsung and Netflix. In the future, brain control could replace the keyboard and speech recognition as the primary way to interact with computers.
If brain-scanning tools become ubiquitous, novel possibilities for misuse will arisecybersecurity breaches included. Medical devices connected to the brain are vulnerable to sabotage, and neuroscientists at the University of Oxford suggest that the same vulnerability applies to brain implants, leading to the possibility of a phenomenon called brainjacking. Such potential for misuse might prompt us to reconceptualize the right to mental integrity, already recognized as a fundamental human right to mental health. This new understanding would not only protect people from being denied access to treatment for mental illness but would also protect all of us from harmful manipulations of our neural activity through the misuse of technology.
Finally, a right to psychological continuity might preserve people's mental life from external alteration by third parties. The same kind of brain interventions being explored to reduce the need for sleep in the military could be adapted to make soldiers more belligerent or fearless. Neurotechnology brings benefits, but to minimize unintended risks, we need an open debate involving neuroscientists, legal experts, ethicists and general citizens.
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Posted: July 18, 2017 at 4:18 am
USA Commerce Daily
Comparing Uroplasty (UPI) and Stryker Corporation (NYSE:SYK)
The Cerbat Gem
The Company offers a range of medical technologies, including orthopedic, medical and surgical, and neurotechnology and spine products. The Company's segments include Orthopaedics; MedSurg; Neurotechnology and Spine, and Corporate and Other.
What Next for Stryker Corporation (SYK) Stock After Making 52-Week High?
What's Propelling Stryker Corporation (SYK) to Reach 52-Week High?
SEC FORM 4 - SEC.gov
Posted: July 15, 2017 at 11:22 pm
Here is the rundown on market activity for Stryker Corporation (NYSE:SYK). Group President, Orthopaedics David Floyd sold 19,305 shares at an average price of $144.56 on Wed the 12th. Floyd now owns $1,238,590 of stock per an SEC filing yesterday. David Floyd, Group President, Orthopaedics sold $1,068,031 worth of shares at an average price of $144.70 on Mon the 5th. That brings the Group President, Orthopaedicss holdings to $4,033,223 as reported to the SEC.
Timothy J. Scannell, Group President sold $1,810,327 worth of shares at an average price of $135.89 on May 2nd. That brings Scannells holdings to $15,576,119 as recorded in a recent Form 4 SEC filing.
Stryker Corporation (Stryker), launched on February 20, 1946, is a medical technology company. The Company offers a range of medical technologies, including orthopedic, medical and surgical, and neurotechnology and spine products. The Businesss segments include Orthopaedics; MedSurg; Neurotechnology and Spine, and Corporate and Other. The Orthopaedics segment includes reconstructive (hip and knee) and trauma implant systems and other related products. The Businesss MedSurg segment consists of instruments, endoscopy, medical and sustainability products. The Neurotechnology and Spine segment includes neurovascular products, spinal implant systems and other related products..
These funds have also shifted positions in (SYK). Eqis Capital Management, Inc. added to its stake by buying 1,575 shares an increase of 10.3% as of 06/30/2017. Eqis Capital Management, Inc. owns 16,877 shares valued at $2,342,000. The value of the position overall is up by 16.3%. As of the end of the quarter Old National Bancorp /in/ had sold a total of 241 shares trimming its holdings by 4.9%. The value of the investment in (SYK) went from $647,000 to $649,000 increasing 0.3% quarter over quarter.
As of quarter end Lejeune Puetz Investment Counsel LLC had disposed of 240 shares trimming its position 6.1%. The value of the investment in SYK decreased from $516,000 to $511,000 a change of 1.0% quarter to quarter. As of the end of the quarter Central Trust Co had sold a total of 200 shares trimming its stake by 5.6%. The value of the investment in Stryker Corporation decreased from $467,000 to $465,000 a change of $2,000 since the last quarter.
Cantor Fitzgerald added SYK to its research portfolio with a rating of Neutral. On May 16 analysts at Goldman Sachs started covering SYK giving it an initial rating of Neutral.
On December 15 the stock rating was upgraded to Buy from in a statement from UBS. On November 1 the company was upgraded from Underperform to Market Perform in a report from BMO Capital.
Equity analyst SunTrust Robinson Humphrey issued its first research report on the stock setting a rating of Buy. On June 9, 2016 Guggenheim Securities initiated coverage on SYK with an initial rating of Buy.
The company is so far trading up from yesterdays close of $143.2. Additionally Stryker Corporation announced a dividend that will be paid on Monday the 31st of July 2017. The dividend payment will be $0.425 per share for the quarter or $1.70 on an annualized basis. This dividend represents a yeild of $1.18 which is the dividend as a percentage of the current share price. The ex-dividend date will be Wednesday the 28th of June 2017.
Shares of the company are trading at $145.40 just above the 50 day moving average which is $140.23 and barely above the 200 day moving average of $130.49. The 50 day moving average went up by +3.68% and the 200 day average was up $14.91.
The company currently has a P/E ratio of 32.67 and market capitalization is 54.35B. In the latest earnings report the EPS was $4.45 and is projected to be $6.43 for the current year with 373,765,000 shares outstanding. Next quarters EPS is forecasted to be $1.52 with next years EPS anticipated to be $7.05.
Posted: July 12, 2017 at 12:38 pm
Neurotechnology: 5 braincomputer interface innovations - Red Bull
Meet five main players in the race to connect computers directly to your brain using everything from high-tech headbands to tiny implantable chips. Long before ...
Posted: July 11, 2017 at 10:18 pm
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) wants to expand neurotechnology capabilities and create a high-resolution neural interface. The agency announced it is awarding contracts to five research organizations and one company as part of its Neural Engineering System Design (NESD) program.
DARPA announced NESD in January of 2016. The program was created to provide a connection between the brain and digital world.
DARPA has invested hundreds of millions of dollars transitioning neuroscience into neurotechnology with a series of cumulatively more advanced research programs that expand the frontiers of what is possible in this enormously difficult domain. Weve laid the groundwork for a future in which advanced brain interface technologies will transform how people live and work, and the agency will continue to operate at the forward edge of this space to understand how national security might be affected as new players and even more powerful technologies emerge, Justin Sanchez, director of DARPAs Biological Technologies Office.
The contracts will go to: Brown University; Columbia University; Fondation Voir et Entendre (The Seeing and Hearing Foundation); John B. Pierce Laboratory; Paradromics, Inc.; and the University of California, Berkeley.
The organizations will form teams dedicated to creating working systems that support sensory restoration world. According to the agency, four of the teams will focus on vision while two will focus on hearing and speech.
Significant technical challenges lie ahead, but the teams we assembled have formulated feasible plans to deliver coordinated breakthroughs across a range of disciplines and integrate those efforts into end-to-end systems, said Phillip Alvelda, the founding NESD program manager.
The programs first year will focus on breakthroughs in hardware, software, and neuroscience. The second phase of the program will look into properly testing newly developed devices. Achieving the programs ambitious goals and ensuring that the envisioned devices will have the potential to be practical outside of a research setting will require integrated breakthroughs across numerous disciplines including neuroscience, synthetic biology, low-power electronics, photonics, medical device packaging and manufacturing, systems engineering, and clinical testing, according to NESDs website.
Posted: at 10:18 pm
3D printing is an exciting technology in its own right, but, as it works today, it is normally used to fabricate individual components and not functional objects. At most, hundreds of parts in an assembly can be consolidated into a single 3D-printed item, but that item still cannot function on its own.
Progress is being made to change additive manufacturing (AM) technology into something even more powerful, however. In the future, it may be possible to fabricate complete functional objects in a single manufacturing process. Think of it: your smartphone could be produced in one piece in one automatic process.
One company has demonstrated a possible route to that ideal future. Using a unique ultrasonic technique, Neurotechnology, based out of Lithuania, may be able to 3D print a wide variety of objects, including circuits. ENGINEERING.com spoke to Osvaldas Putkis, research engineer and project lead for the companys Ultrasound Research Group, to learn more.
Neurotechnology is focused on developing algorithms and software for biometric applications, such as fingerprint, face, eye and voice recognition. Since launching its first fingerprint identification system in 1991, Neurotechnology has begun exploring other technologies, beginning research into artificial intelligence (AI), computer vision and autonomous robotics in 2004.
While Neurotechnologys core business is in the fields of biometry, computer vision and AI, it is always looking for opportunities to research and develop new technologies that sometimes can be outside the main companys focus, Putkis said. Ultrasonic manipulation seemed an exciting research area with an unused potential and, with the hiring of key personnel who have expertise in ultrasound, an Ultrasound Research Group was created three years ago.
Ultrasonic manipulation? No, its not a sleazy method for picking up strangers at a bar from the dirt bags that brought you those pickup artist guides. It involves using ultrasonic waves to grab and move objects.
A rendering of Neurotechnologys ultrasonic manipulation technique. (Image courtesy of Neurotechnology/YouTube.)
Typically, according to Putkis, most of the research and development in ultrasonic manipulation has been dedicated to liquid media for for cell sorting, cell patterning, [and] single cell manipulation. Applied research on manipulation in air, Putkis said, concentrates on container-less processing and analysis of chemical substances by levitating the samples.
After establishing the Ultrasound Research Group in 2014, the company developed a working prototype, finally releasing footage of its ultrasonic manipulation technique this past June. The process uses a computer with computer vision and an array of ultrasonic transducers, each of which can be controlled individually to grab, move and rotate components by changing the ultrasonic waves they emit.
In the demonstration video embedded above, the system has been set up to position and solder electronic components on a printed circuit board (PCB). Soldering is performed using an onboard laser that fuses the pieces onto the PCB, and is guided by the vision system. Altogether, there is no physical contact made with the objects being moved and soldered, opening up a number of possibilities.
Neurotechnologys ultrasonic manipulation prototype 3D printer. (Image courtesy of Neurotechnology/YouTube.)
"Ultrasonic manipulation can handle a very large range of different materials, including metals, plastics and even liquids," Putkis said."Not only can it manipulate material particles, it can also handle components of various shapes. Other noncontact methods, like the ones based on magnetic or electrostatic forces, can't offer such versatility."
This range of material manipulation, not seen with other technologies like magnetic or electrostatic techniques, means that the technology can print with elements that have a variety of shapes and mechanical properties. This includes liquids, such as conductive ink, and solids, like electronic components. These elements can range from a couple of millimeters in size to submillimeter particles. And ultrasonic manipulation can do this without causing any damage to the elements or introducing electrostatic forces into the process.
Ultrasonic manipulation can control a wide variety of substances, shapes and sizes. (Images courtesy of Neurotechnology/YouTube.)
By altering the ultrasonic profile of the process, the precision of object movement and placement can become highly refined. With ultrasonic waves of 40 kHz, its possible to attain accuracies of within tens of microns. Even higher frequencies result in even more precise movement.
Putkis explained that there may be weight restrictions with the ultrasonic transducers, but that this may not always be the case when the density of the elements is taken into consideration. [Pa]rticle dimensions should be in a sub-wavelength region of the ultrasonic waves used, Putkis said. In terms of weight, it is usually the density of the material that is the determining factor. You will need to create very similar pressure amplitude in order to levitate a 1-millimeter diameter or a 2-millimeter diameter plastic sphere. While the gravity force is bigger for a larger sphere, a larger sphere also has a larger surface area, increasing pressure force respectively. With our semisphere levitator shown in the video, we can levitate materials as dense as solder metal (approx. 8000 kg/m3).
The technology is also already fairly automated. The camera is capable of determining the PCBs position and orientation, making it possible to know where a component should be positioned. The circuits used in the companys demonstration are not overly complex and do not have many elements. Therefore, the trajectories can easily be calculated, according to Putkis.
Neurotechnology has already filed a patent for the technology and is continuing to develop its capabilities. At the moment, the system can only assemble simple electronics, so the Ultrasound Research Group intends to expand the platform.
[O]ur plans now are to develop and demonstrate capabilities of the technology to print/deposit other materials or components, Putkis explained. As our main expertise is in ultrasound, we are willing to cooperate with companies from the 3D printing industry in order to incorporate the technology in 3D printing systems.
If we are successful in adding the capability of printing plastics and improving the current prototype for electronic assembly, it would already be a powerful printer that can print some of the electronic devices, Putkis added. Another application could be to use ultrasonic manipulation just for component handling and integrate it to existing printing technologies of plastics or metal, in this way also creating a more universal printer.
To make the platform as flexible as possible, Putkis noted one specific challenge. The biggest challenges are finding methods for dispensing and soldering material and components that can work for a wide range of different components and materials in order to make full use of the handling versatility of ultrasonic manipulation, he said.
It would be interesting to see Neurotechnology partner with 3D printing companies already focused on electronics 3D printing. Two immediately come to mind: Voxel8 and Nano Dimension. Voxel8 has developed a fused deposition modeling desktop 3D printer that is capable of printing plastic parts with conductive silver ink traces, making it possible to manually embed electronic components to create functional objects. Nano Dimension, in contrast, relies on an inkjet printhead and photocurable resin to produce PCBs.
In both cases, electronic components must be manually inserted. Its not impossible to imagine incorporating an array of ultrasonic transducers into either platform in order to automatically move the components throughout the printbed as the fabrication process is taking place.
Facebook also recently scooped up a company, Nascent Objects, that was using EnvisionTECs digital light processing technology to 3D print functional electronic goods. Although we havent heard from the company in some time, the acquisition is an indicator that this field is a potentially highly valuable one. We may still be years away from being able to 3D print a complete cell phone in a single printing process, but even the steps along the way will be exciting ones, as Putkiss research shows.
To learn more about Neurotechnology, visit the company website.
Posted: July 10, 2017 at 8:26 pm
A clinical trial has found that HIRREM [high-resolution, relational, resonance based, electroencephalic mirroring] closed-loop neurotechnology is more effective than placebo at reducing symptoms of insomnia and has additional benefits for heart rate and blood pressure regulation. Findings were presented in Boston at SLEEP 2017.
Developed by Brain State Technologies (BST), HIRREM is a noninvasive acoustic stimulation neurotechnology that applies software algorithms for real-time analysis of critical brain frequencies. The algorithms guide production of changing sequences of audible tones, which support brain oscillations to re-organize toward more optimal patterns of symmetry and frequency ratios.
The 3-year study enrolled 107 adults with insomnia and randomly assigned them to receive 10sessions of either HIRREM or a placebo intervention, which consisted of tones produced by a random generator. Subjects were blinded to their group assignment, and they received equal levels of social interaction during the 2-week treatment period. The trial was conducted at Wake Forest School of Medicine, Department of Neurology (Winston-Salem, North Carolina), by Charles Tegeler, MD.
At the predetermined endpoint 2months after their sessions, those who received HIRREM reported significantly greater reduction in insomnia symptoms than those who received placebo. Moreover, the HIRREM group showed marked improvements in heart rate variability and baroreflex sensitivity, whereas the placebo group showed no physiological changes. Ninety-four percent of the enrolled subjects completed all sessions and follow-up visits as scheduled, and there were no adverse events in either group.
Lee Gerdes, founder and CEO of BST, says in a release, We are thrilled that our noninvasive strategy showed highly practical benefits, in an easily tolerable way without side effects, for a problem that affects up to half the US population. He further notes that Brain State Technologies is continuing innovations on HIRREM and other products for well-being, above and beyond the methodology evaluated in this study.
According to Sung Lee, MD, MSc, director of research at BST, The brain is the organ of central command. This study shows that HIRREM benefits sleep, and also helps the brain to fine tune its regulation of heart rate and blood pressure in response to changing stress levels. He says closed-loop neural interventions such as HIRREM have the advantage of precision-guidance based on real-time physiological dynamics, in contrast to reliance on symptom changes or clinical assessments.
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