Micro-electro-mechanical systems already have a predominant role in the electronics industry because they are essential in a large number of automotive, telecom, and consumer electronic products and systems. They are also among those responsible for the most important turning point in science in the engineering of the last decade when having strongly influenced researcher’s go-to nanometric dimensions and create modern nanotechnology.
As known, among the fundamental advantages of Mems there, it is only the micrometric dimensions, which obviously become nanometric when there is talk of Nems, but there is especially the cost it is very competitive for the possibility of using the same production lines already installed in the factories that produce we integrated circuits.
In addition, after the first few years, during which mainly silicon mems were made, it was understood that it was possible easily integrate into devices also parts of glass, ceramic, alloys composite, and even polymers. After that, it was easy to get started to experiment with Mems devices and systems for medical applications since among the polymers exist. Many materials have mechanical properties, in the electronic response, and in interaction with organic substances, the best that could be desired to make BioMEMS. It was so that in a few years, they have been developed specific manufacturing processes for biocompatible micromechanical elements such as plasma etching, galvanic abrasion, laser processing, and micro-milling.
Due to this important and rapid technological evolution, the new BioMEMS can be used today as sensors, as actuators, in both ways and also integrated together to other larger devices to express them their functionality on a macroscopic scale.
The Mems dedicated to the medical and biological sector, and in the 2013 BioMEMS Report, he estimates one growth continues with an average of around 78% at least until 2018.
1- Among the first and still most popular BioMems, there are sensors for measuring pressure blood available on the market for over one thirty years, both as disposable products both in several useful variants. For instant, for the measurement of intraocular, intracranial, intrauterine, and even specific pressure angioplasty operations. Indeed, the walleye is the second leading cause of blindness after cataracts, and most importantly, when they do appear, they have an irreversible effect, but fortunately, they can be prevented and cured simply by measuring the intraocular pressure for preventing it from rising above the risk values. A 2x2 mm BioMems and a few dollars with an infrared transmitter capable of emitting an alarm signal can easily resolve the problem and the US health system.
2- Another popular category of BioMems is that of inertial sensors whose applications the main ones are still those in cars and video games, though however, among them, we can understand mini-vehicles of various types for motor assistance to the disabled. In micro-electro-mechanical form, today, accelerometers have become fundamental components in defibrillators and in pacemakers because they easily measure the changes in the beating of the heart. They regulate blood flow and allow you to activate appropriate control feedbacks that restore the right rhythm of pulsations. Furthermore, they are also used to monitor real-time changes in heart rate during surgeries and resonance analyzes magnetic. Among the applications of BioMems for assistance to the disabled, there are also transducers that help listen better to whom you have hearing problems. Today there are devices a few square millimeters containing microphone, amplifier, and audio speaker, which can be placed inside the ear using almost invisible plastic supports easily removable.
3- One of the applications the most promising of BioMems even if rather complex and still not yet perfected in all its aspects is the diagnostics based on microfluid dynamics or the analysis of small volumes of fluids both in characteristics kinematics and dynamics of their movement and with the selective capture of some particles which may allow you to understand the chemical composition. These systems can be made in micro-electro-mechanical form by assembling valves, needles, mixers, tanks, channels, pumps, filters, and sensors, with micrometric dimensions, but this obviously requires a very soft level engineering skill. Their use is also fundamental in diagnostics because it allows the detection of organic substances and clinical parameters in a non-invasive way with accuracy, reliability, and speed of measurement. Just think that many indicators of the presence of viruses, bacterial pathologies of all kinds are often present in our saliva, sweat, or urine, as well as in the blood. Therefore, a very small instrument of this type can allow getting perfect diagnoses immediately on the place where the patient is located without the need to resort to prolonged and expensive tests of laboratory or outpatient admissions. BioMems of this type can also be used in recognition of the presence of doping, or polluting substances are swallowed by people.
Among the most popular BioMems are the detectors of the glucose and insulin dispensers for people diabetes that the statistics give continuously increase to the point that diabetes has repeatedly been defined as the main disease of the 21st century. Micromechanical scalpels stand gradually but overwhelmingly, establishing itself as exceptional surgical instrument efficiency and minimal invasiveness on patients. Yes, these are tools with a few dimensions of hundreds of µm that can be used for the removal of small quantities of tissue for the withdrawal of small quantities of liquid or gaseous substances. It captures the electrical or acoustic biological signals inside the body, for the capture of the particles that flow in the organic fluids and to detect many other activities that happen in our body.
Due to Mems technologies, they have been made with the most disparate forms and with various materials including steel, glass, ceramic, and plastic polymers. MIS (Minimally Invasive Surgical) is already in the industrialization phase and in the process of being integrated into the typical instrumentation of hospital clinics and surgical rooms. Some of them have already been chosen and adopted for interventions of angioplasty, catheterization, endoscopy, laparoscopy, and neurosurgery.
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