Technology

Eternal "motor": the energy of the heart can be used to charge pacemakers

The strength of the heart rate is so high thatcapable of recharging devices designed to save human life, according to a study by experts from Dartmouth College (USA). The compact device developed by college engineers is capable of collecting the kinetic energy of the heart and turning it into electricity to power a variety of implantable electronics, according to a press release published on the EurekAlert website!

Millions of people around the world rely on workcardiac pacemakers, defibrillators and other vital electronic devices powered by compact batteries. As a rule, these batteries must be replaced every 10 years. Each replacement requires expensive surgery, which may be accompanied by risks of complications and infections.

"We are trying to solve a very important problemcharacteristic of any implantable biomedical device: how to create an efficient source of energy so that implantable devices can work throughout the patient’s life without the need for battery replacement operations " Specialists from the University of Texas at San Antonio completed the first preclinical testing of the device.

"It is equally important that the device does not interferethe functioning of the body. It should not only be biocompatible, lightweight, flexible and very compact to work in conjunction with already used types of pacemakers, but also have the ability to scale to add multifunctionality, ”adds study author Lin Dong.

The team proposes to modify the existingpacemakers and collect kinetic energy from the main electrode, which is attached to the heart, to then convert it into electricity to recharge the batteries. The kinetic energy collection material added to the electrode is a thin PVDF polymer piezoelectric film. When a special porous structure is added to the film, it acquires the ability to convert the energy of even insignificant mechanical motion into electricity. An additional advantage of the device is that the module in this form can be used as a sensor to monitor the patient's condition in real time.

The results of the three-year closed tests of the newAnimal devices by a team of engineers at Dartmouth College and the University of Texas at San Antonio were published in an article by Advanced Materials Technologies magazine.

Professor John Zhang notes that before completionpreclinical testing remains for about two years. According to their results, some time will be required to obtain approval for the use of devices by humans. Thus, the scientist hopes, self-loading pacemakers will be able to hit the market in the next five years.

“We completed the first series of studies onanimals and received promising results to be published soon. Several major medical technology companies are already interested in our development, ”adds Zhang.

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