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Weekly Round Up
24 February 2021
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An extension of yourself
Able to be compressed, twisted and conformed to uneven surfaces without losing functionality, stretchable electronics have captured the imagination of engineers in a host of different industries. In healthcare, the elasticity of polymers such as silicone has given rise to emerging technologies that can be made to mimic the behaviour of skin. Jim Banks explores their potential with Matt Pharr, assistant professor of mechanical engineering at Texas A&M University.

Go all in on the chips
Microfluidic or ‘lab-on-a-chip’ devices are commonly used to analyse blood and other fluid samples, which are pumped through narrow channels in a transparent chip the size of a postage stamp. A new chip takes that technology one step further by adding a 3D cavity along the channel, which creates a mini vortex where particles spin around, making them easier to observe. Andrew Tunnicliffe speaks to Sara Baratchi, researcher and biologist at RMIT University, about the potential applications.

From the outside in
There is ongoing debate about the relative advantages and disadvantages of outsourcing in device manufacturing. Deciding whether to ramp up internal production or engage external suppliers is fundamental in a fast-paced industry. Lyn Erb outlines considerations for outsourcing and how to navigate the various available options.

In the biomedical sense
Scientists have found a way to form porous metal nanostructures in thin films. The findings could lead to improved biosensing devices in the future. Natalie Healey speaks to Karen Chen-Wiegart, assistant professor in Stony Brook University’s Materials Science and Chemical Engineering Department and a scientist at the National Synchrotron Light Source II, to explore the potential of the research.

No pause on compliance
Eudamed, a database to monitor the safety and performance of devices, has been postponed by the European Commission until May 2022, which coincides with the implementation date for the In Vitro Diagnostics Regulation (EU IVDR). While the date for the Medical Devices Regulation (EU MDR) was intended to remain at May 2020, the coronavirus pandemic has led it to be delayed one year until 26 May 2021. Abi Millar finds out what is required to ensure compliance.

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