Stanford researchers create tiny, wirelessly powered cardiac device

One big problem we have with bio-implantable devices, like cardiac implants, is that they require a battery–and batteries need to be changed once in a while. This means more surgery. 

In this day and age of wireless devices, it seems like

 a no-brainer to choose to power the devices wirelessly. So what’s been holding us up?

It turns out, the existing models told researchers that radio waves couldn’t penetrate deeply enough into human tissue to be useful for power delivery. The human body is a poor conductor of electricity. Ultimately, it took someone willing to question the accepted models, to show that it could, in fact, be done.

By ignoring the currently held ideas of “that isn’t possible”, Ada Poon and her team showed that radio waves can travel in a different way– and by doing so, they can be used as a wireless source for power delivery; in fact, using this method, it is actually advantageous that human tissue is such a poor electrical conductor.

“In this high-frequency range, we can increase power transfer by about 10 times over earlier devices,” said Ho, who honed the mathematical models.

Two hurdles remained:
1) how to use this wireless delivery safely to avoid unnecessary tissue heating
2) how to orient the antennas for maximum efficiency in the constantly moving environment of a human body.

Differences in alignment of just a few degrees could produce troubling drops in power.

“This can’t happen medical devices,” said Poon. “As the human heart and body are in constant motion, solving this issue was critical to the success of our research.” The team responded by designing an innovative slotted transmitting antenna structure. It delivers consistent power efficiency regardless of orientation of the two antennas.

The new design serves additionally to focus the radio waves precisely at the point inside the body where the implanted device rests on the surface of the heart – increasing the electric field where it is needed most, but canceling it elsewhere. This helps reduce overall tissue heating to levels well within the IEEE standards. Poon has applied for a patent on the antenna structure.”

via Stanford researchers create tiny, wirelessly powered cardiac device | Stanford News Release.

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About Karen Saint Marie

Hi! I'm Karen Saint Marie. I have worked in the fields of health care, nutrition and mental wellness since 1991. Over the past two decades, I became aware that almost everyone is interested in how to feel better, live better and think better. The problem is, most people find it impossible to prioritize their physical and mental health while juggling family, jobs, and community projects. I have helped many individuals and small groups learn to identify, understand and implement better health and wellness practices. Wellness is a many-fold process. To begin, pick a place to start and get the process going. Being healthy in mind and body doesn't mean spending hours every day focused on healthy living. Instead, it is easier to make healthy living a natural and enjoyable part of our lives. Taking care of our minds means putting the right things in our bodies. It means pushing our minds in fun and explorative ways. Learning about the latest neuroscience and psychological research is helpful. It shows us the easiest ways to keep our brains humming along, well into our later years. Taking care of our bodies means being aware of our movements. It means making good choices for healthy foods, even when we eat out for most of our meals. It doesn't have to be hard, and, it can be a lot of fun. Living a great life doesn't have to come at a high price. It just involves knowing what is needed, and then, doing some small part of that every day. You can contact me at karen.saintmarie@gmail.com.

Posted on October 18, 2012, in Heart Disease, Life Extension, Research. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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