A team of researchers from Stanford believe that it will soon be possible to power a minuscule, implantable cardiac device using radio waves instead of batteries.
Their research would mean that the pacemakers implanted to help regulate heartbeats could become a great deal smaller than they are at the moment because the majority of their size is because of the batteries used to power them.
Head Researcher Ada Poon says that one of best things about the cardiac device they are working on is that it can be placed on the surface of the heart – 5 centimeters inside the human chest and would still be in reach of wireless power transmission.
As well as meaning that pacemakers could be made considerably smaller in size, the team’s radio-wave powered implant would negate the need for surgery to replace the batteries that are currently necessary and eliminate the risk that they involve.
The device uses inductive and radiative transmission of power, sending radio waves to a coil of wire placed inside the body. However the Stanford team still has some kinks to work out as the high frequency radio waves do not penetrate deep enough into the human tissue to power the implants.
Despite the fact that there is still a lot of work to be done before Poon’s wireless pacemakers replace the ones currently used in the medical profession, the discovery made by the team is still ground-breaking and in the future could prove to be vital.