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Wireless power comes to patient microimplants

Lucas Mearian | May 28, 2014
A Stanford engineer has figured out how to charge implanted batteries the size of a grain of sand that will then run devices such as pacemakers and nerve stimulators.

An independent laboratory that tests cell phones found that Poon's system fell well below the danger exposure levels for human safety.

The Stanford lab has so far tested the wireless charging system in a pig and used it to power a tiny pacemaker implanted in a rabbit.

Poon is now working on a system for testing in humans.

"Should such tests be approved and prove successful, it would still take several years to satisfy the safety and efficacy requirements for using this wireless charging system in commercial medical devices," the statement said.

Poon believes this discovery will spawn a new generation of programmable microimplants — sensors to monitor vital functions deep inside the body; electrostimulators to change neural signals in the brain; and drug delivery systems to apply medicines directly to affected areas.

Electrical engineer Ada Poon has invented a way to wirelessly transfer power deep inside the body. The technology could provide a path toward new medical devices.


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