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HCI Platform: collection:

Implanted and Embedded Medical Devices (2019)

Curators: Katharine Gruber, Stephanie Gawtry, and Jonathan Peterson | University of Minnesota | April 2019

Collection Editor: Isabel Pedersen
Acquisitions Editor: Ann Hill Duin
Collection Archivist: Sharon Caldwell

Our collection introduces the newest advances in implanted and embedded medical devices, spanning from the brain to the ankle. These devices are used to replace, repair, or enhance organ function and limbs. Some of the devices, such as the leadless pacemaker, have already been approved by regulatory agencies and are currently being used. Other devices are prototypes that are still being developed, such as the artificial kidney. Many of the devices are developed by large, multi-national companies such as Medtronic, which impact health care across the globe.

Some of these treatment options build upon old technologies, such as improving the pacemaker to remove the weakest elements (the leads) and improving battery life and monitoring capabilities. Some of these treatment options incorporate technologies such as augmented reality and 3D printing. Augmented reality was used to supplement vision in the bionic eye. 3D printing can be used to create personalized organs such as ankle bones that fit a particular person.

The themes of “innovation” and “hope” surround all of these different medical technologies. These medical devices can offer hope for patients living with conditions that have not responded well to lifestyle adjustments and medication. For some, these devices have led to a significant increase in their quality of life. Announcements of new devices tend to have a strong focus on their positive potential. However, there is always a trial-and-error process with new technologies even after they are approved. We have also included a database of international medical devices where users can search for recalls or adverse effects of a specific device.
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