Flexible In-Body Electrical Source Could Simplify the Use of Permanent Medical Devices

In-body power seems to be an ever-growing need as the use of implantable electronic devices also increases. Devices such as cochlear implants and pacemakers use a great deal of battery power to function, and in the instance of pacemakers, this could mean that a patient would have to undergo surgery every time that the batteries on their device ran out. Researchers at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have developed a battery that can function with the use of a patient’s heartbeat. The technology uses nanoribbons made from piezoelectric-able material called lead zirconate titanate. The nanoribbons are then placed on a flexible silicone surface which can be attached to organs in the body. The heart was chosen because of its size and its ability to produce an electrical current with its beat. So far the technology has not been tested in humans, but it was successfully used in the body of animals whose heart size was comparable to that of a human. The device produced 0.2 microwatts per square centimeter, which is enough to power the average pacemaker, without the need for replacements.

(Source: CBS News)

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