Posted on Feb 04, 2019, 11 p.m.
Dartmouth College scientists in collaboration with clinicians from the University of Texas claim that the heart’s motion is so powerful that it is capable of recharging devices that save our lives, as published in Advanced Materials Technologies.
Kinetic energy of the heart is suggest to be able to be harnessed and converted into electricity to power a wide range of implantable device such as pacemakers, defibrillators and other life saving implantable devices power by batteries that require surgery to replace batteries every 5-10 years.
The scientists propose modifying pacemakers to harness the kinetic energy of the lead wire that is attached to the heart to convert it into electricity to continually charge the batteries that will last the entire lifespan of the patient and will not interfere with body functions. The added material is a thin polymer piezoelectric film called PVDF, when designed with porous structures it can convert even small mechanical motion to electricity; the same molecules could potentially be used as sensor to enable data collection for real time monitoring.
With two remaining years of funding left plus time to finish preclinical process and obtain regulatory approval, places the self charging pacemaker approximately 5 years from commercializing. First round of animal studies have been completed, and much interest has been expressed from major medical technology companies, according to John X.J Zhang.
Materials provided by Dartmouth College.
Note: Content may be edited for style and length.
Lin Dong, Xiaomin Han, Zhe Xu, Andrew B. Closson, Yin Liu, Chunsheng Wen, Xi Liu, Gladys Patricia Escobar, Meagan Oglesby, Marc Feldman, Zi Chen, John X. J. Zhang. Energy Harvesting: Flexible Porous Piezoelectric Cantilever on a Pacemaker Lead for Compact Energy Harvesting (Adv. Mater. Technol. 1/2019). Advanced Materials Technologies, 2019; 4 (1): 1970002 DOI: 10.1002/admt.201970002