Researchers have developed a small power-generating gadget that uses the body’s natural movements to charge medical implants.
For heart patients around the world pacemakers are necessary to keep their tickers pumping blood. However, in order to keep the life-sustaining device running, the battery needs constant replacement, which means several additional surgeries throughout their lifetime. Research suggests these patients may only have to go under the knife only once, thanks to an implantable generator that creates electricity from the body’s natural movements.
American and Chinese researchers are working on a miniature power generating device. The device has nanoribbions which are covered in biocompatible plastic and are small enough that they can be sewn into the surface of any organ. When the nanoribbions move with the natural movement of the organ, be it the heart, lungs, or diaphragm, they create enough electricity to power a device as big as a pacemaker.
The device may not be placed in any patients in the near future, as the researchers have yet to determine whether or not the device is safe to leave implanted for extended periods of time. Their published research points to promising results through the use of the device on cows and other large animals. Still, this is a significant advancement for those who need implanted devices to stay healthy and active.