The cardiac pacemaker of the future could be powered by the heart itself. Researchers are harvesting kinetic energy from the heart to power pacemakers. The energy is harvested by the buckling of the encapsulated structure of the pacemaker, creating buckled piezoelectric energy.

The batteryless pacemaker harvests kinetic energy. (Credit: Yi Zhiran)

The group is investigating batteryless powering and leadless pacing, but the challenge has been to obtain sufficient power by scavenging heart kinetic energy. The energy is harvested by the buckling of the encapsulated structure of the pacemaker, creating buckled piezoelectric energy. This method of power supply varies greatly from current pacemaker designs.

The key difference is the method of the power supply. They say a batteryless pacemaker is feasible through using implantable energy harvesting technology, which provides a sustainable power supply method.”

The group is working to overcome some drawbacks to the device, such as the long-term stability in vivo, the implanting method, and the integration between the rigid pacing chip and the flexible energy harvesting unit, before progressing to the next steps.

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Medical Design Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the September, 2021 issue of Medical Design Briefs Magazine.

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