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Power without the cord
Date:4/11/2012

For more than 50 years, pacemakers have set the rhythm for many hearts. The engineering of microelectronic implants has since advanced by leaps and bounds: they have become ever-smaller and more technologically sophisticated. The trend is moving toward miniaturized, intelligent systems that will take over therapeutic and diagnostic functions. For example, in the future implantable sensors will measure glucose levels, blood pressure or the oxygen saturation of tumorous tissue, transmitting patient data via telemetry. Meanwhile, medication dosing systems and infusion pumps will be able to deliver a targeted release of pharmaceutical substances in the body, alleviating side effects in the process.

Technology that can be worn on a belt

All these solutions are composed of probes, actuators, signal processing units and electronic controls and therein lies the problem, too: they must have a power supply. Batteries are usually ruled out because of their limited durability after all, implants stay inside the body for years. Currently, radio wave-based (HF) and inductive systems are most commonly in use. However, these exhibit differences in efficiency based on location, position and movement and are also often limited in range. Soon, a new power transfer system should circumvent the limitations of previous methods. Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Ceramic Technologies and Systems IKTS in Hermsdorf succeeded in wirelessly transmitting power from a portable transmitter module to a mobile generator module the receiver. "The cylindrical shaped transfer module is so small and compact that it can be attached to a belt," says Dr. Holger Lausch, scientist at IKTS. The transmitter provides an electric current of over 100 milliwatts and has a range of about 50 centimeters. As a result, the receiver can be placed almost anywhere in the body. "With our portable device, we can remotely supply power to implants, medication dosing systems
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Contact: Dr. phil. Holger Lausch
holger.lausch@ikts.fraunhofer.de
0049-366-019-301-1973
Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft
Source:Eurekalert  

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