The Asian Age

A car­diac pace­maker pow­ered by the heart


London, Sept. 1: Re­searchers have de­vel­oped a new bat­tery­less car­diac pace­maker which is based on an au­to­matic wrist­watch and is pow­ered by heart mo­tion.

“Bat­ter­ies are a lim­it­ing fac­tor in to­day’s med­i­cal im­plants. Once they reach a crit­i­cally low en­ergy level, physi­cians see them­selves forced to re­place a cor­rectly func­tion­ing med­i­cal de­vice in a sur­gi­cal in­ter­ven­tion,” said Adrian Zur­buchen from Univer­sity of Bern, Switzer­land.

“This is an un­pleas­ant sce­nario which in­creases costs and the risk of com- pli­ca­tions for pa­tients,” Zur­buchen said.

Zur­buchen has now come up with a way to power a car­diac pace­maker with an al­ter­na­tive en­ergy source — the heart mo­tion.

Four years ago Pro­fes­sor Rolf Vo­gel, a car­di­ol­o­gist and en­gi­neer at the Univer­sity of Bern, had the idea of us­ing an au­to­matic wrist­watch mech­a­nism to har­vest the en­ergy of heart mo­tion.

“The heart seems to be a very promis­ing en­ergy source be­cause its con­trac­tions are repet­i­tive and present for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week,” Zur­buchen said.

“Fur­ther­more the au­to­matic clock­work, in­vented in the year 1777, has a good rep­u­ta­tion as a re­li­able tech­nol­ogy to scav­enge en­ergy from mo­tion,” he said.

The re­searchers’ first pro­to­type is based on a com­mer­cially avail­able au­to­matic wrist­watch. All un­nec­es­sary parts were re­moved to re­duce weight and size.

They de­vel­oped a cus­tom- made hous­ing with eye­lets that al­lows su­tur­ing the de­vice di­rectly onto the my­ocardium.

The pro­to­type works the same way it would on a per­son’s wrist. When it is ex­posed to an ex­ter­nal ac­cel­er­a­tion, the ec­cen­tric mass of the clock­work starts ro­tat­ing. This ro­ta­tion pro­gres­sively winds a me­chan­i­cal spring.

After the spring is fully charged it un­winds and thereby spins an elec­tri­cal mi­cro- gen­er­a­tor.

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