Stanford Creates Wireless, Self-Propelling Medical Implant
February 23, 2012 1:03 PM
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Wirelessly powered, self-propelled medical device
(Source: Carlos Suarez, StrongBox3d)
Implant could eventually be used in applications like diagnostics, minimally invasive surgeries and drug delivery
A Stanford University researcher has developed new wireless medical devices that can be
or injected into the human body.
Ada Poon, study leader and assistant professor from Stanford University, has created a wireless medical device capable of traveling through the bloodstream without cables or a battery.
implantable medical devices
used today are limited due to power problems. More specifically, the batteries needed to power such devices are bulky. While other researchers have managed to make these batteries in devices smaller, they've had to compromise power as well. This is problematic because the batteries would often have to be replaced, and there are also risks associated with battery corrosion or broken wires.
That's exactly why Poon created devices that do not require batteries or cables. The implantable/injectable devices consist of a radio transmitter, which is kept outside of the body and communicates with an antenna of coiled wire on the device. The antenna and transmitter are magnetically coupled, so a change in current flow in the transmitter induces a voltage in the coiled wire. This powers the device wirelessly, allowing it to make its way through the bloodstream.
Poon was able to do what many others couldn't because instead of looking at human fat, muscle and bone as good conductors of electricity, she found that it's a better insulator instead. Using new equations, she discovered that human tissue is actually a poor conductor of electricity, and that high-frequency radio waves move easily through the fat, muscle and bone.
"When we extended things to
using a simple model of tissue, we realized that the optimal frequency for wireless powering is actually around one gigahertz -- about 100 times higher than previously thought," said Poon.
Poon has created two devices: one that switches current back and forth in a wire loop to make a "swishing" motion, and another that drives electrical current through the liquid to create a "directional force."
Poon said it would be a while before these devices can be used in hospitals, but could eventually be used in applications like diagnostics, minimally invasive surgeries and drug delivery.
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RE: Odd shape
2/24/2012 3:38:04 PM
The photo probably just shows what the circuit looks like, I imagine to make it bio-compatible you would need to round off the edges or encase it in something smoother to keep it from sticking into the tissue.
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