They used to say the only thing you could count on was death and taxes. To that adage I’d like to add something else we can surely count on: changes in technology. It seems that no sooner do you install new software then you receive a notice saying there are updates to it. Admittedly, most of these changes are minute and hardly recognizable, but what are the big changes in technology that we can look forward to this year?

According to a “Top 10” forecast list compiled by Elie K. Track, PhD, senior partner at HYPRES Inc—a company that develops and commercializes superconductor microelectronics—cheaper MRI machines and ultra fast Internet switches top the list of predicted superconductivity-based breakthroughs for 2007. Track compiled the list through his work at HYPRES, through comprehensive industry research, and through conversations with numerous scientific experts around the world.

Topping the list is an expected breakthrough announcement of laboratory demonstrations that can lead to an advanced, low-cost MRI machine that leverages superconducting technology. According to HYPRES, this will ultimately make it easier and less expensive to screen for many serious medical conditions, including breast cancer and brain tumors. By using tiny magnetic fields, these advanced MRI machines will also work in a more open environment, helping to alleviate the concerns of claustrophobic patients.

Coming in at number five, Track’s list predicts that the Food and Drug Administration will grant approval for the use of superconducting sensors in advanced magnetic cardio-imaging machines, which will more effectively screen for coronary artery disease.

That can only be good news for all of us because, according to the American Heart Association (AHA), heart disease is the leading killer of women and men. At Bulbtronics Inc, an international distributor of bulbs, batteries, and related lighting products used in the medical industry, the company supported the AHA’s national campaign: Go Red for Women—Wear Red Day 2007 on February 2. Its employees wore red that day to raise money and awareness about heart disease, and to encourage everyone to take charge of their heart health.

To read more about HYPRES’ predictions and Bulbtronics’ AHA goals, read past issues of our e-newsletter, Weekly Jolt.

Whether the predicted innovations affect your work as clinical and biomedical engineers, or your individual health, one thing is certain: Technology will continue to advance, presenting biomeds with continued opportunities for career growth through enhanced products that will increase patient safety and improve health.

Julie Kirst