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New Advances In Wireless Rechargeable Battery Research Target Reduction Of Surgical Risks

Researchers at Penn State University are currently working on the development of a wireless rechargeable battery specifically designed for biomedical electronics, such as cardiac pacemakers. The objective is to create a battery system that can be charged and managed without the need for invasive surgery. While biomedical devices have significantly improved the quality of life for many individuals by replicating physiological functions and relieving chronic pain, one ongoing challenge is the power supply required for these devices.

Most implantable electronic devices currently rely on primary batteries, which have limited lifespans and require cable charging. However, with increasing human longevity, there is a need for longer-lasting and more reliable alternatives to the existing lithium iodine batteries commonly used in pacemakers.

Previous iterations of cardiac pacemakers used rechargeable batteries such as nickel-cadmium and zinc-mercury, but the invention of lithium iodine batteries in 1972 set a new standard due to their extended lifespan of up to 10 years. However, complications arise when patients outlive the lifespan of their pacemaker batteries, often by several decades. Battery replacement surgeries, while generally safe, carry risks, particularly for elderly patients, including infection, blood clots, damage to blood vessels or nerves, collapsed lungs, and cardiac perforation.

The researchers aim to develop a wireless rechargeable battery system that can be remotely charged within the human body, thereby eliminating the risks and complications associated with surgical procedures. This advancement would not only provide a more stable and durable power supply but also enable the integration of additional health diagnostic sensors into implantable medical devices.

The project involves two main tasks. The first step is to identify a suitable non-commercial wireless charging method that is safe for biological use and capable of penetrating muscle tissue to allow in-body charging. Small-scale testing will be conducted on prototypes to determine the optimal battery chemistry for this specific application. The second task is to focus on structural optimization, aiming to create a compact device with an integrated receiver that can seamlessly integrate into various biomedical electronics.

The development of a wireless rechargeable battery for biomedical devices has the potential to revolutionize the field by reducing the need for invasive surgeries, improving patient safety, and providing a more reliable power supply for extended periods.

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