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The wireless mechanical pump system  (Source: University of Washington)
The development of a wireless system allows the patient to use mechanical pumps over a long period of time without worrying about infections in the stomach from cords

Joshua Smith, study leader and a University of Washington associate professor of computer science and electrical engineering, along with Dr. Pramod Bonde, a heart surgeon at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, and a team of researchers, have created a wireless mechanical pump that could improve a heart patient's quality of life. 

Traditional mechanical pumps, used to maintain failing hearts, were originally created as a temporary fix until the patient could receive a heart transplant. But these pumps have improved over time and can be a part of a patient's body for years. The problem with this is that a power cord is routed through the patient's stomach, and 40 percent of patients get infections in this area because of the cord. These infections lead to hospitalization and can even be fatal.

But Smith and his team have relieved this problem with the development of a wireless system that allows the patient to use mechanical pumps over a long period of time without worrying about infections in the stomach. 

"My primary interest is to help heart failure patients recover, and they can only recover if they are not tethered to a battery or external power supply so they can exercise and train their heart to recover," said Bonde. "With wireless technology, patients can be free and they can have a chance to move around and exercise like normal human beings."

The wireless system works through a concept based on inductive power, where a transmitting coil sends electromagnetic waves out at a certain frequency and a receiving coil takes in the energy and uses it to charge a battery. This system is especially unique in that it doesn't require the tool to touch the charger like similar systems, such as cell phone charging pads. Also, distance from the charger doesn't affect the amount of power given to the patient's pump.

"Most people's intuition about wireless power is that as the receiver gets further away, you get less power," said Smith. "But with this technique, there's a regime where the efficiency actually doesn't change with distance."

The power stays constant over distances the same diameter as the coil. So a one-foot transmitter coil could send consistent power over the distance of one foot. 

In tests, the researchers were able to power a mechanical heart pump using a small receiver coil that is 1.7 inches across. Power transmitted reliably with an efficiency of 80 percent.

The researchers are working to make the system apart of a vest, where an external transmitter coil would connect to a battery or power cord, and a small receiver coil would be implanted under the patient's skin. The receiver coil would connect to a battery that holds a two-hour charge, allowing infection-free freedom. 

"The potential for wireless power in medical fields goes far beyond powering artificial hearts," said Bonde. "It can be leveraged to simplify sensor systems, to power medical implants and reduce electrical wiring in day-to-day care of the patients."

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By voodoochile123 on 7/13/2011 7:26:43 PM , Rating: 3
Cool. Now please cure cancer... too many people die from that.

RE: nnice
By Camikazi on 7/13/2011 7:38:51 PM , Rating: 3
What kind of cancer? I think curing cancer might be like curing the common cold, easy to say hard to do since they are not all the same.

RE: nnice
By jskirwin on 7/14/2011 12:39:48 PM , Rating: 2
A wireless heart replacement is essentially an engineering problem. All the necessary scientific breakthroughs have been made. A Cancer Cure requires scientific understanding that does not exist just yet.

RE: nnice
By DAOWAce on 7/15/2011 8:42:44 AM , Rating: 2
Let me guess, you live in America? I'll keep this short.

Cancer's been cured before humans first developed on Earth.

The drug industries in America will never really cure ailments of their patients due to profits. Blah blah, I'm sure you keep hearing this, but you keep hearing it because it's true.

Go move out of the states into countries that actually have no overruling government and medical industries focused on profits (and non-gmo food); suddenly, cancer is cured.

Or, you know, cure it yourself through nature's #1 healing medicine: Food.

Now, on topic: The article never mentioned any side effects due to the EMFs being generated. While I'm sure this will be able to prevent infections that can be fatal, it'll instead cause other problems, one of those potentially being cancer from the EMFs.

One step forward, two steps back.. Wireless technology is useful, but at a cost.

RE: nnice
By voodoochile123 on 10/5/2011 3:04:45 AM , Rating: 2
What a load of bollocks you speak.

Will other electromagnetic waves mess this up?
By quiksilvr on 7/13/2011 3:18:32 PM , Rating: 3
Is it fine tuned to certain frequencies or does it simply absorb any wave available? Can certain frequencies mess with the coils and cause "heart" "attacks"?

This is a pretty neat design but going from wired to wireless is always more complex and usually has more rooms for error than wired.

By geddarkstorm on 7/13/2011 3:58:42 PM , Rating: 2
For that matter, don't wear or walk behind anything laced with metal.

By Natch on 7/14/2011 9:05:43 AM , Rating: 2
No doubt. What's the effect on someone going through one of the newer airport backscatter x-ray detectors?

Hopefully, they'll shield this from any radio frequencies that would interfere, or cause "bad things" to happen. Especially since I can remember (back in my Navy days), listening to the car radio, and hearing the buzz through the speakers every time one of the ships radars would rotate past. Sure wouldn't want that to happen while you're walking around something similar!

By spread on 7/14/2011 9:24:24 AM , Rating: 2
The coil is not directly connected to the motor. It recharges a battery and I'm sure there's some kind of regulator system to make sure the battery doesn't fry when there's too much power.

By Richie2011 on 7/13/2011 7:00:49 PM , Rating: 1
Interesting work. But the major question is to what extent the wireless radiation, used as part of the application itself, interferes with certain biological functions of the heart. Animal studies tell us that certain frequencies of non-ionizing radiation cause cardiac changes - this has been published for decades. We don't know whether in individuals with pre-existing heart conditions, the susceptibility or the sensitivity are higher or not. But we know that some wireless frequencies have health effects. That is an important consideration to take into account.

RE: Radiation
By Gurthang on 7/14/2011 12:42:22 PM , Rating: 2
From what I read in the article this is a magnetic induction system. And not really EM "radiation" (ala radio or visible light) or nuclear/ionizing radiation. (Which comes in many forms from energetic photons (high frequency UV light on up to gamma rays) to helium nuclei)

What this ammounts to is a fancy "air core" transformer where the two coils and likely the frequency of the AC voltage are highly tuned to optimize the transfer of electricity from one coil to the other. I do wonder however if they are using an array of coils on the transmittion side to focus the field as much as possible on the desired location. Like what you do with a Halbach array of PM magnets.

By vavavangv on 7/13/2011 11:42:04 PM , Rating: 1
I tide fashion Good-looking, not expensive Free transport

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