Office of Technology Transfer – University of Michigan

Energy Harvesting for Medical Devices

Technology #5599

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Daniel J. Inman
Managed By
Keith Hughes
Assistant Director, Physical Sciences & Engineering 734-764-9429
Patent Protection
US Patent Pending

According to the World Health Organization, Cardiovascular diseases were the major cause of death for over 17 million people worldwide in 2008. Of the total number of implantable cardiac pacemakers, 64% of the devices are implanted in the US and Western Europe. With a large and aging population the incidence rates and implant rates continue to grow. These implanted pacemakers operate on batteries capable of functioning for 5 to 10 years. However when the battery is depleted a majority of patients require follow up surgeries for the replacement of these batteries. This invasive procedure significantly increases the risk of complications for elderly patients and is currently required in order to keep their pacemaker functioning. There is a need for a technology that extends the battery life of pacemaking technologies to the point of a permanent implant so as to reduce the complications and need for follow up surgical procedures.

Self-Powering Pacemakers There has been a significant breakthrough in the ability to harvest and store energy generated by the body to power implantable medical devices. The new technology can be integrated into existing pacemaker platforms in order to provide continuous power. The device itself is unique in that it combines the principles of micro elctro-mechanical systems with a novel design to capture the energy generated by the movement of heart tissue. The ability to power pacemaking devices without the need for replacement batteries is now possible with this technology.

Applications • Power generator for pacemakers • KSU for wireless communication between heart surface and pacemaker • Self-powered implantable diagnostic sensor Advantages • Energy generation for long-term, permanent medical device implants