Blood refuses to go anywhere near this new medical implant material

medical implant blood repel  plasma water droplets on superhemophobic surface
Blood, plasma, and water droplets on a superhemophobic surface.
If you have a medical implant put into your body, you want it to be compatible with blood so as to cause the minimum of possible complications, right? Not necessarily.

A research project coming out of Colorado State University is suggesting a different, less conventional approach: A new type of “superhemophobic” titanium surface that’s so repellent to blood that, in theory, your body won’t even realize an implant is there.

“Researchers have been working to try and make implants that blood likes enough to be compatible,” Arun Kota, assistant professor of mechanical engineering and biomedical engineering, told Digital Trends. “We wanted to do the opposite: To make it so that implants are so repellent to blood that blood can’t even contact its surface to make it wet. In a sense, we’re tricking blood into thinking there’s nothing there at all.”

Kota’s lab has worked extensively to develop coatings and surfaces that are repellent to liquids, although this is one of his first dives into this kind of medical implant.

The material developed for this project — in conjunction with Ketul Popat, an associate professor in the same department — starts out as a regular sheet of titanium, the standard material used for medical implants. It is then chemically altered in a way that results in the total rejection of liquids, meaning that there is a barrier between the implant and a person’s blood. That means no clotting and, hopefully, a greatly reduced risk of your body rejecting an implant.

At present, this is still a research project, although Kota said he hopes it will eventually be used in human patients.

“There is still a way to go before it can be commercialized, but we’re excited about the result,” he said. “Right now, we’ve only looked at a couple of parameters, platelet adhesion and activation. The next step is to look at other parameters that influence hemocompatibility. Once we’ve done that, we want to go to in vivo studies in which we intend to implant a superhemophobic surface in a live animal, before we go through an FDA approval process to get these medical implants ready for humans.”

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Grow veggies indoors and shower more efficiently

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Emerging Tech

Descending at an angle could be key to landing heavier craft on Mars

Landing on Mars is a challenge: The heavier the craft, the more difficult a safe landing becomes. Scientists propose using retropropulsion engines and angling the craft to create a pressure differential to land heavier crafts in the future.
Gaming

Thrive in the nuclear apocalypse with our Metro Exodus survival guide

Metro Exodus is a difficult shooter, especially if you're new to the series' blend of stealth, action, and scavenging. Here is what you need to know to survive the nuclear apocalypse.
Home Theater

How to master your equalizer settings for the perfect sound

You may know what an EQ is, but do you know how to adjust equalizer settings for the best possible sound? We go through the basics of the modern EQ and lay out some guidelines for how to achieve tip-top sound from your system.
Emerging Tech

A river of stars one billion years old flows across the southern sky

Astronomers have identified a river of stars flowing across our galaxy and covering most of the southern sky. The estimated 4000 stars that comprise the stream were born together and have been moving together for the last one billion years.
Emerging Tech

Ant-inspired walking robot navigates without GPS by using polarized light

What do you get if you cross Boston Dynamics and Ant-Man? You get Antbot, a robot from the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) which uses ant-like navigation to move around without the aid of GPS.
Emerging Tech

InSight’s heat probe will dig 16 feet beneath the surface of Mars

New images from NASA's InSight mission to Mars have confirmed that the lander succeeded in setting the Heat Flow and Physical Properties Package instrument onto the surface, from where a self-hammering spike will burrow downwards.
Emerging Tech

White spots on Ceres are evidence of ancient ice volcanoes erupting

Scientists are pouring over data collected by NASA's Dawn mission to learn about the dwarf planet Ceres and the bright white spots observed at the bottom of impact craters. They believe that these spots are evidence of ice volcanoes.
Emerging Tech

NASA to launch SPHEREx mission to investigate the origins of our universe

NASA is launching an ambitious mission to map the entire sky to understand the origins of the universe. The Spectro-Photometer for the History of the Universe, Epoch of Reionization and Ices Explorer (SPHEREx) mission will launch in 2023.
Emerging Tech

Probes exploring Earth’s hazardous radiation belts enter final phase of life

The Van Allen probes have been exploring the radiation belts around Earth for seven years. Now the probes are moving into the final phase of their exploration, coming closer to Earth to gather more data before burning up in the atmosphere.
Emerging Tech

How can digital art created on obsolete platforms be preserved?

As the lines between art and technology continue to blur, digital art experiences become more commonplace. But these developments are raising an important question for art conservationists: How should digital artworks be preserved?
Emerging Tech

Statistician raises red flag about reliability of machine learning techniques

Machine learning is everywhere in science and technology. But how reliable are these techniques really? A statistician argues that questions of accuracy and reproducibility of machine learning have not been fully addressed.
Emerging Tech

Chandra X-ray telescope uncovers evidence of the universe’s missing matter

Where is all of the matter in the universe? NASA's Chandra telescope has uncovered evidence of hot gas strands in the vicinity of a quasar which could explain the missing third of matter which has puzzled astronomers for years.
Emerging Tech

Wish you could fly? You totally can with these top-of-the-line drones

In just the past few years, drones have transformed from a geeky hobbyist affair to a full-on cultural phenomenon. Here's a no-nonsense rundown of the best drones you can buy right now, no matter what kind of flying you plan to do.