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Case Studies Healthcare

The ‘Star Trek’ Medical Scanner

A client wanted a device to help heal bones, and sound like a tricorder

It’s relatively easy for Dr. McCoy in Star Trek to figure out what is bothering a patient. He pulls out his trusty, sci-fi medical scanner which chirps back and tells him whether the patient has a concussion, a broken bone, or infection by an alien parasite.

We’re still far away from that technology, but this magnetic two-way medical scanner controls an embedded implant in healing bones. The device works by controlling a magnetic field that sends and receives control signals to a device inside a person which injects a current into the bone. This makes the bone heal quicker.

One interesting feature is the client wanted the device to sound like a Star Trek scanner. MTSI is thrilled to work on such projects. We used an MC68HC11’s Pulse Width Controller to make the sounds.

This product generated sales of $800 million a year.