Sensing wire is changing the game for medical devices

12 August 2021

sensing wire

From accurate in vivo diagnostics to making therapeutic procedures safer than ever, sensing solutions in medical devices have revolutionized the way that we monitor our health – and it’s not just medical professionals seeing the difference.

No longer in the realms of science fiction, innovative sensing wires are being used to manufacture remote monitoring devices that allow people to take back control of their lives. “There’s an app for that” may be a cynical quip in a digital age where technology claims to answer everything, but with medical devices that combine sensing solutions with the ability to transmit data to a mobile device, this saying could not be truer.

Under its EXERA® brand, Sandvik has become an industry leader in designing and developing medical wire components based on its extensive experience in metallurgy and process development. Sandvik sensing solutions have been used for applications such as thermocouples, glucose sensors, and electrical sensor devices.

But how does this specialized wire work, and where can we expect this technology to take us in the future? Medical Device Technology spoke with Gary Davies, business unit medical manager at Sandvik, to find out more.

“The wires that we make go into a lot of different applications. The way I like to describe it is, our wires are used to stimulate or send a signal either inside or outside the body. In almost all cases, the wire is an active part of how the sensor works – a continuous glucose monitor wire, for example, is an active chemical sensor for sensing the amount of blood sugar in your interstitial tissue.

“What we find with a lot of our customers is that they’re looking at more advancements in their designs – they need to be able to incorporate multiple capabilities within the same footprint of wire. Sandvik has been assisting in the design of a composite wire that has different elements incorporated into that one wire system. One part of the wire is used to locate the sensing device inside the body, almost like a smart guidewire. Another senses heat, another senses chemical reactions. So we’re really at the top of our game with that creation.”

With these innovative sensing solutions already changing lives, what is on the future goal list for Sandvik? Taking health monitoring one step further, Davies explains that Sandvik has been tackling preventative medicine with its involvement in developing a new device that prevents and manages heart failure before it gets to an acute stage.

“The wire is inserted in your cardiovascular system and there’s an antenna that’s attached to this sensor,” Davies explains. “The whole system provides a continuous output of blood flow and pressure, which would give the physician an indication that you’re starting on the early stages of heart failure and exactly where the problem areas are. They then start you on a remedial path long before you can ever be considered acute.”

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