Sensors for the Medical Sector – Summary

Sensors used in the medical sector range from temperature sensors, pressure detectors, flow sensors, acoustic sensors and gas sensors to cameras, image sensors and magnetic field sensors.

 

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Summary

Sensors used in the medical sector range from temperature sensors, pressure detectors, flow sensors, acoustic sensors and gas sensors to cameras, image sensors and magnetic field sensors. Image sensors and cameras used in the medical sector can be optical, X-ray and ultrasonic.

The use of sensors in the medical sector depends strongly on the application. Generally, the market for biomedical sensors and cameras as well as image sensors is growing in importance. MEMS sensors will enable the design and production of smaller, smarter and lower priced medical devices and systems with more functionalities. The global demand of wearable, wireless and disposable medical sensors continues to rise.

In medical diagnostics, various sensors are required for digital blood pressure meters, digital thermometers, breath analyzers, spirometers, peak flow meters, respiration pulse oximeters and sleep apnea monitoring devices. Especially the sensors demand for diagnostic sleep apnea devices is growing rapidly. The most important sensors in medical diagnostics are temperature, pressure and flow sensors.

Therapeutic equipment with high sensor market volumes comprises anesthetic equipment, respiration equipment for intensive care, heart-lung machines as well as infusion and transfusion pumps. Surgical instruments and endoscopes, too, show a rising market demand for medical sensors. Dialysis systems and therapeutic sleep apnea devices are further examples of therapeutic equipment showing a growing sensors demand.

Medical imaging equipment requiring sensors is manifold. It encompasses 3D digital imaging systems such as computer tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, positron emission tomography and single-photon emission computed tomography systems. 2D imaging systems are included too, such as dental and non-dental systems. Capsule endoscopes and ultrasonic imaging systems are further examples of medical imaging systems with promising market perspectives.

Hearing aids, prostheses, implants and wheelchairs represent further examples of medical devices requiring sensors. So do home and self-monitoring meters for diabetes patients. The quality of blood glucose sensors has improved remarkably during the last decade, making diabetes much more manageable. These biosensors have become indispensable to assist in the adjustment of insulin dosing or other therapeutic measures of the patients in response to blood glucose levels.

Conclusion

Medical sensor markets of the future may rely on lab-on-a-chip technology, nanotechnology or sensor networks. Currently and in the non-distant future, medical and biomedical sensors continue to enable early detection in clinical diagnostics, accurate treatment by therapeutic equipment as well as patient monitoring in intensive care and anesthesia. Sensor technology will definitely continue to be one of the core technologies for commercially successful medical devices as well as for high-end medical disposables.

 

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