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New Wireless power breakthrough allows for ‘electroceuticals’
New Wireless power breakthrough allows for 'electroceuticals'

New Wireless power breakthrough allows for ‘electroceuticals’

A researcher at Stanford University has devised a method of charging devices within a user’s body, paving the way for advanced sensors and implants that would keep themselves charged when worn.

The research, published on Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, says that smaller, longer-lasting sensors can now be developed, such as pacemakers, nerve stimulators and other implanted medical devices.

At present, most of these devices run on long-lasting big batteries that sometimes require another batch of surgery to replace or recharge.

The crux of the discovery involves a new way to control electromagnetic waves (far field and near field) inside the body.

Far field waves can travel long distances, but interact weekly with the human body. Near field waves, on the other hand, can only transfer power over very short distances and are severely refracted when they encounter human tissue.

Led by assistant professor Ada Poon, the Stanford team was able to combine the best of the two worlds by developing a power source that generates a near-field wave that is harmless to humans and is also able to effectively penetrate tissue to charge small electronic implants inside a patient.

The new method, described as mid-field wireless transfer, has been tested by an independent laboratory and fell well below the danger exposure levels for human safety.

The charging system has also been tested in a pig and used to power a tiny pacemaker in a rabbit.

The researchers are currently preparing the system for human testing, although they say this could be a few years off.


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