Medical device executives and Ted Talk-ers love comparing the medtech industry to consumer electronics or aeronautics when making grand points about the market, but at Battelle cross-industry correlations speak to the core of the company’s engineering philosophy.
Battelle collects scientists and engineers and challenges them to tackle new frontiers in a variety of industries, bringing in automotive experts to think about medical devices and software experts to think about national security.
The diversity not only produces inspired results, it also keeps the engineers engaged and enthusiastic about their work, according to Melissa Masters, Battelle’s consumer, industrial and medical products electrical software and systems engineering group manager – whose work focuses most frequently on medical products.
"One of the greatest strengths that Battelle has is in utilizing this cross-discipline, cross-product expertise," Masters told MassDevice.com. "Our engineers get to work on things for other industries, like oil and gas, automotive, cybersecurity. It’s a great way to develop skills and learn about cutting-edge technologies in a lot of different spaces."
Masters began her career as an electrical engineer, spending several years in startups and putting in a stint at Motorola before joining Battelle, a giant in the research and product development space. The company works with everything from tiny startups to the top companies in medtech and many other industries.
Battelle provides full R&D labs for some of its smaller customers and takes on individual challenges brought on by larger clients, but the firm also tries to stay ahead of the market by developing its own technologies for licensing.
Making power sources smaller and longer-lasting is a particular focus. Masters and her team are working on tiny, high-density electronics and batteries that can conform to spaces, she told us. That technology could play a big role in groundbreaking new devices, such as the wirelessly connected, blood-glucose sensing smart contact lenses unveiled by Google earlier this year.
Battelle is still brainstorming next steps for its tiny, wireless electronics, but Masters said that she has a basic proof of concept for a tiny wearable device that could monitor temperature and other physiological parameters. Mobile and home-based healthcare products are a big focus as well, she noted.
"Over the past 5 years or so, it’s just more wearables, more sensors. Healthcare is moving more towards the home, outside of clinics, outside of the hospital," Masters said. "People are very interested in monitoring their health, and so we’re trying to solve problems in this state, in new, novel ways."