Do Photonic-Based Medical Devices Have a Future?

Amid the growing competition in the healthcare and medical equipment industry, manufacturers and researchers have been bracing technology to cater to the growing demand for technologically advanced and high-performing machines and medical equipment. In a bid to take a leap into future generation cutting-edge medical equipment, the research and innovation pivot in nanoelectronics and digital technology- Imec,- and Ghent University, have collaborated with Medtronic and other CARDIS project partners to create a prototype medical device that works on silicon photonics.

The device has been designed to screen arterial stiffness and diagnosis cardiovascular diseases, including heart failure and arterial stenosis.  As a part of this Horizon 2020 project CARDIS, Medtronic and imec, together with 7 other partners have created a prototype mobile, cost-effective, point-of-care screening device for cardiovascular disease. The photonic-based medical devices has been designed to measure rapidly in reproducible and feasible way with negligible physical contact with the patient and minimal learning skills for the operator.

The medical device sector is a rapidly growing sector with huge potential opportunities for photonics technology, with extensive applications ranging from diagnostics to therapeutics to surgical tools. The medical device industry has been experimenting with new manufacturing technologies, most notable of which is the 3D printed medical devices, a segment growing at over 14% y-o-y.

The growing improvements in the photonic imaging is altering the big picture of the healthcare landscape, with light-based technologies showcasing the potential to solve industry challenges. Medical professionals and healthcare experts continue to invest in R&D to find out how the photonic technology can be harnessed to impact future economic growth.

Miniaturization has emerged as a major trend in almost every industry, and healthcare is no exception. Previously, healthcare technologies were bulky, with costly systems installed in medical facilities, however with technology evolving at a fast pace, more compact and cost-effective systems have made their way to doctor’s office. Medical experts have been taking initiatives to jump on the next stage that enables compact devices availability at patient’s home, or anywhere for that matter.

Following the growing need for easy to use compact medical devices and miniaturization, medical professionals are adopting photonics technologies for diagnostic, the technology being less invasive, more authentic, cost effective, molecular and mobile.

Personalized medicine is increasingly creating opportunities for photonics. Personalized diagnostic tests already, and will expand in the upcoming years. From a health sciences point of view, photonics’ applications are plentiful, primarily in the manufacturing of medical devices. In the nutshell, photonics in the healthcare and medical equipment industry is at a turning point in its evolution, as this technology is preparing to step out of the bulky systems market to enter into the mass market.


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