This battery-free pacemaker is powered by the wearer's heartbeats. A prototype has proved successful in pigs and its makers are preparing to test the device in humans.
Developed at the University of Bern in Switzerland by cardiologist and engineer Rolf Vogel, the prototype harvests energy from a heart's normal beat. The design is based on the same technology used in automatic wrist watches. With the help of student Adrian Zurbuchen, Vogel altered it so it can be sutured directly onto the heart's surface.
In addition to testing the battery-free pacemaker further, the next step involves incorporating the energy-harvesting mechanism with an electric circuit to store it. If successful, this invention could significantly reduce the number of pacemaker-replacing surgeries.
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