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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Heartbeat Powered Pacemaker

During this time the heart disease patients using pacemakers will be difficult to have an operation if they want to recharge the device. But now thanks to the services of researchers at the University of Michigan that utilizes electrical energy from heartbeat to run pacemakers. 

When Amin Karami and Daniel Inman, aerospace engineering researchers at the University of Michigan, began to work with materials which generate power from physical stress, they weren’t looking for a medical breakthrough. They were, in an endeavor more directly appropriate to their profession, looking to design a light unmanned aircraft which could be powered by the vibrations of its own wings.

Standard pacemakers
GuidantMeridianSR.(Picture
from: http://www.innovationtoronto.com/)
But as they looked at the properties of certain power-generating piezoelectric materials, they determined that they might also have an application for powering pacemakers using the human heart’s own vibrations. The test results stated that such a device could produce 10 times the amount of energy needed. The researchers said clinical trials are needed to demonstrate that the equipment is safe for use by humans. Piezoelectric materials generate electricity when the shape changed.

Piezoelectric used the microphone to convert vibration into electrical signals. In a test that is designed with different types of heart rate, which generated enough electricity to run pacemakers.

Researchers suggest that an
 innovativeheart-powered pacemaker 
could replace existing battery 
powered devices in years to come. 
(Picture from: http://www.onlymyhealth.com/)
The creators now want to test the device on the actual heart and incorporate them into commercial pacemaker. Dr Amin Karami said in an American Heart Association meeting that pacemakers batteries should be replaced at least every seven years.

"Many patients are children living with pacemakers for years. You can imagine how many operations do not need them if the technology is actually implemented," he said.

Prof Peter Weissberg, the medical director at the British Heart Foundation said, "Advancing technology over recent years has meant people with pacemakers need to change their battery less often. This device could be another step forward along this path. If researchers can refine the technology and it proves robust in clinical trials, it would further reduce the need for battery changes."

About 700,000 people worldwide who have heart rhythm disturbances get a pacemaker or defibrillator each year. In the United States, pacemakers sell for about $5,000, which does not include the cost of surgery, a hospital stay and additional care. *** [BBC | INHABITAT | SRI | PIKIRAN RAKYAT 08112012]
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