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Biotech Medicine Power Hardware

A Piezoelectric Pacemaker That Is Powered By Your Heartbeat 84

MrSeb writes "Engineers at the University of Michigan have created a pacemaker that is powered by the beating of your heart — no batteries required. The technology behind this new infinite-duration pacemaker is piezoelectricity. Piezoelectricity is is literally 'pressure electricity,' and it relates to certain materials that generate tiny amounts of electricity when deformed by an external force — which, in the case of the perpetual pacemaker, the vibrations in your chest as your heart pumps blood around your body. Piezoelectric devices generate very small amounts of power — on the order of tens of milliwatts — but it turns out that pacemakers require very little power. In testing, the researchers' energy harvester generated 10 times the required the power to keep a pacemaker firing. Currently, pacemakers are battery powered — and the battery generally need to be replaced every few years, which requires surgery. According M. Amin Karami, the lead researcher, 'Many of the patients are children who live with pacemakers for many years,' he said. 'You can imagine how many operations they are spared if this new technology is implemented.' This piezoelectric energy harvester is about half the size of a conventional battery, too, which is presumably a good thing."
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A Piezoelectric Pacemaker That Is Powered By Your Heartbeat

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  • by camperdave ( 969942 ) on Tuesday November 06, 2012 @01:34AM (#41890557) Journal

    Heartbeat powered pacemaker is as useful as a solar powered flashlight.

    In other words, very useful. The typical flashlight will have a charge time of about 6 hours while providing 8 hours of light. They can penetrate up to 50 meters in the dark, and can be visible up to 2 kilometres. The cell life of the solar energy cells can be as long as 20 years! Exactly what you need in an emergency. Similarly, a heartbeat powered pacemaker can trigger heartbeats (note: trigger, not power. The beat itself is still chemically powered, like all other muscles) for a lifetime.

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