How Missile Defense Technology Is Advancing Health Care

The intersection of engineering fields yields a fertile breeding ground for new ideas. The combination of previously separate concepts lies at the heart of creativity and novelty. An increasing amount of these technological breakthroughs generate innovations with commercial potential.

A recent report  released by the US Department of Defense’s Missile Defense Agency (MDA) entitled, “Healthy Innovation – Missile Defense Technologies Applied: Medical and Safety Solutions“, highlights how improvements in health care have been spawned in unexpected ways by missile defense technology development. Technologies developed by twenty different companies are highlighted. VEXTEC’s Virtual Life Management® (VLM®) technology has been identified as one such technology which has multi-disciplinary application. VLM improves product safety and reliability using computer simulation. The simulation software tools predict damage over time to help engineers build better products. The need for early prediction of product safety exists for many industries, from weapons systems to medical devices.

Several medical device companies such as Boston Scientific have used VLM to simulate bench testing of stents and electrical leads. The medical device market is a demanding commercial market since the reliability of an implanted device can be a life-or-death issue. VLM affords medical device makers the capability to make design decisions before extensive physical testing and prototyping. VLM helps companies reduce the time and cost of product development and certification while supporting the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) goals of getting effective and safe treatments to patients more quickly.

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