Novel device could power pacemakers by heartbeats alone
Engineers from the University of Michigan have developed a prototype device that could power a pacemaker simply by utilising heartbeat vibrations.
In their method, vibrations in the chest cavity deform a layer of piezoelectric material, which is able to convert mechanical stress into electrical current.
Tests indicate that the device could perform at heart rates from 7 to 700 beats per minute (well below and above the normal range), and that it could deliver eight times the energy required for a pacemaker.
Furthermore, the researchers state that the amount of energy generated is always larger than the amount required for the device to run, regardless of heart rate.
Though the team has yet to develop a prototype that is biocompatible, it believes the potential to package this energy harvester with pacemakers gives it an advantage over competing methods.
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