Wirelessly powered medical implant
Remember the movie “Innerspace” ?
Well this is kinda like that, minus the tiny little person driving the medical device.
Wirelessly powered medical implant propels itself through the bloodstream
With the wait still on for a miniaturization ray to allow some Fantastic Voyage-style medical procedures by doctors in submarines, tiny electronic implants capable of traveling in the bloodstream show much more promise. While the miniaturization of electronic and mechanical components now makes such devices feasible, the lack of a comparable reduction in battery size has held things back. Now engineers at Stanford University have demonstrated a tiny, self-propelled medical device that would be wirelessly powered from outside the body, enabling devices small enough to move through the bloodstream.
While the benefits of medical implants have already been realized with devices such as artificial pacemakers and cochlear implants, which are stationary within the body, energy storage continues to limit such devices. With half of the volume of implants often consumed by the battery, the locations in which they can be placed are limited. Additionally, batteries also need to be periodically replaced, which generally requires a surgical procedure.
Developing implants capable of traveling through the bloodstream not only requires an energy source to power the device’s medical functions, but also its propulsion system – something that today’s batteries are unable to deliver in a form factor that is small enough to fit inside arteries.
The obvious approach would be to remove the battery from the device altogether and look to wireless electromagnetic power delivery. This is just what many scientists have been working on for fifty years. While such wireless power transmission technology has recently entered the mainstream through wireless chargers for consumer devices such as mobile phones, it wasn’t believed the technology could be made small enough to be compatible with tiny implantable devices.
rest of the story over at Gizmag.com
Source: Stanford University