Smartpump: Development Platform for Medical Dosing Applications

The Smartpump platform takes its name from a project funded by the Fraunhofer Zukunftsstiftung (available only in German). The aim of the activities was to significantly improve the response time and precision of gas sensors, using a highly miniaturized silicon micropump to attract ambient air and to pass it to the gas sensor. This principle could be used for applications e.g. in smartphones, for example measuring the CO2 content of the ambient air via an integrated gas sensor is considered a promising new feature. However, the reaction times of the sensors are currently still very long. With the help of the micropump, response times could be reduced from the current several minutes to just a few seconds. Many other advantages, such as the online calibration of gas sensor drifts or overcoming pressure drops on filters and supply lines, could easily be realized with a micropump. 

© Fraunhofer EMFT/ Bernd Müller
Metal micropump for medical applications

In terms of miniaturization, metering accuracy, backpressure capability and bubble tolerance, the micropumps developed at Fraunhofer EMFT meet the most stringent requirements. These features of the "Smartpump" platform offer potential for several application areas with strict quality requirements, such as medical technology. However, the decisive factor for the actual implementation in a medical product is the interaction between the pump and the medium to be dosed. The smartpump micropump technology is constantly being developed for tackling the challenges in this area.

Different media have very specific requirements for the pump. For example, insulin molecules tend to partially clump together ("denature") into agglomerates under inappropriate conditions; they become ineffective and can be deposited in the micropump. An insulin patch pump, which is only in use for up to 7 days, has fewer challenges here than an implantable insulin pump, which remains in the body for more than 10 years. Both the pharmaceutical developers' formulation of insulin stability and the optimization of the pump design and pump control to keep the shear stress on the insulin molecules as low as possible play a role here. 

Agglomeration as a crucial parameter 

Every medical application has its own specific requirements with regard to agglomeration of the active ingredient used. The aspect of agglomeration of body proteins is also relevant when pumping body fluids (e.g., aqueous humor in glaucoma therapy). Here, the micropump must also be able to pass whole cells. Another aspect is the investigation of corrosion, which is particularly relevant for long-term implants. The Fraunhofer EMFT team is working on a methodology for systematical research of these interactions, in order to shorten development cycles for new applications.

With "Smartpump", Fraunhofer EMFT is pooling its expertise to adapt pump design and pump control individually to the requirements of specific medical applications. The platform makes available the expertise gained from previous activities in order to develop specific solutions for our customers. 


This offering is available at Fraunhofer EMFT for your application topics. We look forward to hearing from you!

You might also be interested in:


Project: Moore4Medical


Drug Dosing Systems


Design of Micro Dosing Systems

Project: Music4Diabetes