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Friday, September 21, 2012

Medical Device Technology Shrinks, but Challenges Remain

CAMBRIDGE, MA – Technology advances can significantly reduce the size of implantable medical devices, but challenges remain before these micropackaging improvements can be harnessed in safe, reliable, and cost effective packages.

Livia Racz, who leads the Microsystems Technology Division at Draper Laboratory, will discuss how to overcome these issues while satisfying demands for sophistication and processing power in a Sept. 27 keynote speech at the 2012 Medical Electronics Symposium, which is presented by MEPTEC and the Surface Mount Technology Association (SMTA) at Arizona State University.

Racz’ speech, titled “Trends in 3-D Micropackaging for Emerging Implantable Applications,” will address challenges including developing devices that are sealed well enough to protect the electronics from the body – and vice versa – while still effectively interacting with the organ in question. Other challenges include avoiding breakdowns, and ensuring that those that may occur will not result in damage to the body.

Draper is addressing these challenges as it develops implantable medical devices for applications including neural stimulation to treat conditions like Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, and depression while limiting potentially devastating side-effects. Draper’s neural prosthesis work is led by Bryan McLaughlin.

Racz holds a bachelors degree in materials science and engineering, and a PhD in materials engineering, from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

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