Piezo-Based Energy Harvesting for Medical Implants May Transcend Alternative Approaches

ElectronicDesign

April 24, 2019

"Energy harvesting from the human body (approximately 100 W of consumption at rest) in various forms appears to be a near-perfect power source fit for implanted medical devices, but practical issues have impeded its adoption as a solution," writes ElectronicDesign. "Funded by a five-year NIH Director's Transformative Research Award, a research team at Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth worked with UT Health San Antonio (part of the University of Texas) and developed a new way to build a piezo-based harvesting transducer for these medical devices.

"Their approach uses a combination of thin-film energy-conversion materials with a minimally invasive mechanical design. The work and results are detailed in their paper 'Flexible Porous Piezoelectric Cantilever on a Pacemaker Lead for Compact Energy Harvesting' published in Advanced Materials Technologies. Here’s a one-minute video that also demonstrates it:

"Providing implanted power is a formidable challenge, noted Dartmouth engineering professor John X.J. Zhang, 'How do you create an effective energy source so the device will do its job during the entire life span of the patient, without the need for surgery to replace the battery?'"

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