New technique to wirelessly charge implants deep in body and brain
A Stanford electrical engineer has invented a way to wirelessly transfer power deep inside the body, and then use this power to run tiny electronic medical devices such as pacemakers, nerve stimulators, or new sensors and gadgets yet to be developed.
The discoveries culminate years of efforts by Ada Poon, an assistant professor of electrical engineering, to eliminate the bulky batteries and clumsy recharging systems that prevent medical devices from being more widely used.
The technology could provide a path toward a new type of medicine that allows physicians to treat diseases with electronics rather than drugs.
"We need to make these devices as small as possible to more easily implant them deep in the body and create new ways to treat illness and alleviate pain," Poon said.
The article describes how Poon's team built an electronic device smaller than a grain of rice that acts as a pacemaker. It can be powered or recharged wirelessly by holding a power source about the size of a credit card above the device, outside of the body.
The central discovery is an engineering breakthrough that creates a new type of wireless power transfer that can safely penetrate deep inside the body, using roughly the same power as a cell phone.
The research is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
(Posted on 20-05-2014)