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40 The PCB Magazine • January 2016 Medical devices represent one of the fast- est growing electronic markets in the United States. The drive for reduced space and weight, added functionality, and reduced cost has driv- en the adoption of a wide array of custom flex- ible circuits. The design freedom offered by this three-dimensional interconnect supports the packaging design requirements for a myriad of diverse applications within the medical elec- tronic market. The adoption of flexible circuitry in medical devices goes back to the early 1970s, when com- panies like Cardiac Pacemakers and Medtronic used flex circuitry for implantable pacemakers and implantable defibrillators. As electronics and packaging advanced, medical products en- joyed a tremendous growth both in the U.S. and overseas. This growth will most certainly con- tinue as new and innovative products, with in- creasingly demanding electronic requirements, challenge product designers to add functional- ity within smaller and smarter devices. Today flexible circuits are found in many medical applications: • Implantable medical devices: These include pacemakers, defibrillators, neurological implants and cochlear implants (hearing). These devices are surgically implanted in the human body. Product requirements are extreme reliability, long life cycle, light weight, biocom- patibility and compact size. • Non-implantable medical devices: Hearing aids, drug dispensing systems, and external defibrillators (attached to patient) are examples of this medical application. These devices are generally worn or attached to the skin of the patient. • Monitoring devices: These products include portable and wearable electronics that monitor heart rate, blood pressure, body tem- perature, and blood sugar rate. Also included in this category are bedside monitoring devices. • Diagnostic equipment: This category includes equipment for ultrasound scanning, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computed tomography scanning (CAT scan), X-rays and a variety of other types of equipment to aid in detecting and diagnosing health problems. by Dave Becker all FleX FleXiBle circuits llc all about flex Flex: Just What the Doctor Ordered for Medical Devices Feature coluMn

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