Advancements In Wireless, Rechargeable Battery Technology Aim To Minimize Surgical Risks

Researchers at Penn State University are currently working on the design of a novel wireless rechargeable battery intended for use in biomedical electronics like cardiac pacemakers. The objective is to develop a battery system that can be charged and managed without the need for invasive surgical procedures. 

While biomedical devices have made significant strides in improving quality of life and alleviating chronic pain, one of the remaining challenges lies in the power supply. Most implantable electronic devices rely on primary batteries with limited lifespans, necessitating the use of cables for recharging. With the increasing life expectancy of individuals, there is a need for more durable and reliable alternatives to the current lithium iodine batteries that are commonly used.

Although lithium iodine batteries have a lifespan of up to 10 years and are considered the industry standard, complications arise when patients outlive their pacemaker batteries, sometimes by several decades. Battery replacement surgeries, though relatively safe, carry risks, particularly for older patients, including infections, blood clots, vessel or nerve damage, collapsed lungs, and cardiac perforation. 

To overcome these challenges, the research team aims to adopt a bio-safe wireless charging method capable of penetrating muscle tissue for in-body charging. Small-scale testing on prototypes will be conducted to identify the optimal battery chemistry for this purpose. The goal is to develop a wireless rechargeable battery system that reduces the need for risky surgical interventions, ultimately enhancing patient safety and providing a more reliable solution for individuals relying on biomedical electronics.

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