Piezo-based energy harvesting within medical implants: Page 3 of 3

April 25, 2019 //By Bill Schweber
energy harvesting
Researchers developed a prototype energy-harvesting transducer for medical implants, such as pacemakers, using normal motion of the heart-related blood vessels to generate critical power.

For comparison, today’s ultra-low-power implantable biomedical devices require 0.3μW for cardiac-activity sensing, 10 to 100 μW for pacemakers, 100 to 2000 μW for cochlear implants, and 1 to 10 mW for neural recording. An advantage of this design is that it’s scalable: two (or more) units can be connected in parallel for a corresponding increase in power output. Initial testing is done using a mechanical shaker, of course, to simulate the motion of the myocardium and the corresponding deformation of a pacemaker lead – see figure 3.


Fig. 3: This test setup is based on reported anatomical values of an average adult’s
cardiovascular system; a 21-cm long soft tube was used to represent the superior vena
cava (SVC) (A). The shaker-based test platform simulates the motion of myocardium (B).
(Source: Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth College).

The NIH Director's Transformative Research Award is part of the High-Risk, High-Reward Research program supporting “individuals or teams proposing transformative projects that are inherently risky and untested but have the potential to create or overturn fundamental paradigms and may require very large budgets.”

This article was first published in Electronic Design - www.electronicdesign.com

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