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PCB-Jan2016

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8 The PCB Magazine • January 2016 by Patty Goldman i-connect007 technical eDitor Patty's PersPectiVe The Fascinating Possibilities of Medical Electronics coluMn If you remember our September issue on automotive electronics, you probably recall that the applications for electronics in the au- tomotive industry seemed to be exploding with limitless possibilities. Well, after reading up on this month's topic, I believe medical electron- ics is doing the same—and then some. I see the medical electronics industry today as over- lapping several of the traditional market divi- sions—computer (from the doctor's office to you to the hospital to caregivers), communications (think of it as "telehealth"), consumer (it's for us, right?), industrial equipment and of course medical. And who knows when it will also en- compass automotive and milaero? But let's not forget security, since equipment and wearables are definitely part of the Internet of Things. We don't even want to think about a surgical laser being hacked, or an implanted pacemaker sud- denly being commandeered. So many sub-segments to medical electron- ics exist, such as sensors, diagnostics, moni- toring technology, medical devices and surgi- cal equipment (think lasers and beyond), and components like batteries and computers. And let's not forget wearables, implantables and in- gestibles, along with the IoT connectivity that brings it all together. We are living in a fantas- tic age. I am fascinated by the possibilities of an in- gestible capsule that can be directed to exactly the right spot in the body to target diseases and cancers. Laser-assisted surgery just seems to make so much sense as does the ability to visit multiple specialists and get multiple diagnoses without leaving your living room. Could the in- creased use of sophisticated sensors and moni- tors in (and outside of) hospitals help alleviate the chronic shortage of nurses? As an aside, I came across an article in Smith- sonian Magazine about Lilianna Zyszkoski who designed the PillMinder, a device to help doc- tors check that patients are properly taking their medications. This was encouraging to read, be- cause she was in the sixth grade when she began building a working prototype of her invention, teaching herself about components, circuit de- sign and even how to hand-solder in the process (note to New England SMTA chapter: track her down!). Now, at age 15, she has filed a patent with Gatekeeper Innovation for a pill bottle that houses her technology in the "smartcap."

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