Pacemaker was charged with ultrasound

(ORDO NEWS) — When the pacemaker battery runs out, the entire implant is usually surgically replaced. Therefore, scientists are developing a non-invasive system for recharging the batteries of this vital device from the outside.

It is not yet possible to charge pacemakers remotely today, and almost all methods that allow you to do this have their drawbacks. But ultrasound can overcome all these limitations.

Today, there are other methods of wireless power transmission. For example, electromagnetic induction is already being used to charge smartphone batteries.

However, this method only works at a distance of about 1.5 cm, plus the heat generated during the charging process limits the safety of this method.

Magnetic resonance is another method, although the magnetic fields it uses can be subject to interference from other wireless frequencies such as Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.

With these and other limitations in mind, a team at the Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST) has developed an implantable ultrasound generator that can be integrated into a pacemaker or other implant.

It uses the so-called triboelectric effect, in which certain materials become electrically charged after rubbing against each other – this phenomenon is the basis of static electricity, which occurs, for example, when rubbing hands on clothes.

How a pacemaker charger works

In the case of this device, external ultrasonic waves cause thin layers of triboelectric and ferroelectric materials to vibrate between two electrode layers. This generates an electrical current that can be used to charge the battery.

When the setup was tested in the lab, it was able to generate 8 milliwatts of charging power even when the generator and emitter were underwater and 6cm apart – enough to light 200 LEDs at the same time or transmit a Bluetooth signal underwater. In fact, this system could possibly also be used in underwater technology.


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