Georgia Tech professor of materials science and engineering Zhong Lin Wang is leading studies that may lead to heart-powered medical devices. If materials problems can be worked out, nanowire generators could allow medical devices to powered by a patient’s own heart or lungs.
Two materials, zinc oxide and PZT, are contenders, but lead in PZT would require some sort of biocompatible polymer, whereas zinc oxide is biocompatible without encasing. The larger challenge is getting higher power outputs from either of the materials.
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