Mr. Krause, what is, in your opinion, the most important innovations in sensor technology?
Miniaturization, long-term stability, high precision measuring, and application expertise are fundamental and indispensable when it comes to sensor technology. The trend toward mobilizing medical equipment for home use and the growing inclusion of sensors in everyday life provide us with great new challenges that we tackle head on.
What are the most significant challenges that are slowing down further market adoption?
There already have been many new disruptive technologies developed and stagnation may cause a decline in furthering market adoption. But I believe that there is still a lot more to be done. Staying adaptable, open-minded, and keeping up with fast paced developments is of the utmost importance. Customers have specific needs that a company has to be able to cater to, if they want to continually succeed. First Sensor is no exception. Which is why we, besides offering a wide array of standard products, have specialized in customer-specific sensor solutions.
Let us take a look at the medical target market. What are today’s trends in medical technology?
Right now there is several trends, but miniaturization and high-precision diagnostics are two of the main focal points. Miniaturization of sensor technology facilitates ever smaller machines, making them mobile and easier to transport. E-health applications allow medical professionals, among other things, to monitor the individual health status by using innovative sensor technology. Also, the detection and identification of health issues is quite complex, low radiation and high resolution imaging processes are a vital part of simplifying it.
If medical equipment is more mobile, does that mean it could possibly be better integrated in daily life?
Yes, and it already is. Sleep apnea therapy devices (CPAP) are mostly needed in the confines of a home. The smaller a device like this is, the easier it is to handle and sleep with. The same goes for mobile dialysis machines that are suitable for home use, making the process more comfortable and not as restraining. Thanks to high quality miniaturization, these devices do not lose any of their effectiveness. Wearables are also becoming more common. A great example for these are mobile insulin pumps for diabetic patients that supply them with insulin at the push of a button and allow them to live a more comfortable life.
What are the challenges in medical technology?
Reliability and precision are imperative. Therefore, the production of sensor technology for medical applications must be of a constant high quality standard. The German First Sensor sites in Puchheim and Berlin-Weißensee as well as the Canadian site in Montreal repeatedly received the ISO 13485:2012 certificate, which testifies the performance of our production network and attests our high standards for the design and manufacture of medical products.
You mentioned Montreal. How widespread is the use of First Sensor products?
We export our products not just to European countries but also to Asia and North America. We are supplying an American specialist for respiratory solutions with our pressure sensors. Our products are implemented in a range of devices. Most notably, a modified standard sensor of the H series is being used for a respiratory system in neonatal and pediatric intensive care, which requires sensors to detect the slightest change in breathing.
Finally, what are the next First Sensor pressure sensor innovations we can look forward to?
Currently, some of our standard products undergo technical updates and new generations will be introduced soon. One example is a new type of gas property sensor. Its innovative measuring principle allows for much faster and lower-energy measurement than before. The technology can be used in a medical context for monitoring anesthetic gases or in several other applications. As of now, potential customers can test out an evaluation kit with gas property sensors, flow sensors, and pressure sensors. There are also plans for the expansion of a PC app for the customer and for data analysis on the sensor. And we have several more things we are working on right now.
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