The Shortest Distance Between Two Points – Medical Devices

My five year old came home from school the other day talking about how the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. That got me thinking about how a straight line might be the most direct route, but it’s not always the best one. For example, pilots fly around large thunderstorms because it is safer for the passengers…and the crew!  So safety becomes the over-arching factor when determining the flight plan, even if the diversion uses a little more gas.

Medical devices are in a similar position of requiring a consideration of human lives.  Therefore, linear thinking is probably not good enough when developing a new device. We must transition to the non-linear realm if we are to bring the safest devices to market.

Non-linear analysis will allow us to make great leaps forward in our understanding of device performance. But this will require us to cope with modeling complexities that may or may not have been dealt with in the past.  Let me mention three typical sources of non-linear complexities: Continue reading

Simulation Technology at the Molecular Level

In recent years, I’ve come across a number of cases in which engineering simulation has been used in medical treatment for real people, all in various ways. It is no longer confined to research laboratories for demonstration purposes. Roughly speaking, these scenarios correlate the functionality of a living organ to a corresponding machine, such as a heart to a pump, bones to beams, and so on. Thanks to advancements in simulation technology, millions of people today have been cured in a way that is much better than once thought possible.

Now I am perplexed by this thought: How far could this analogy go? I got one answer while reading a featured story about employing simulation for cancer research on the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) site, written by Dr. Suse Broyde, a biology professor at NYU. Continue reading