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Biotechnology and health

Future pacemakers could be charged by our heartbeats rather than batteries

February 6, 2019

Pacemakers can be adapted so they can be charged using energy from heartbeats.

Currently: About one million people a year worldwide have a pacemaker implanted to help keep their heart beating at a normal rhythm. However, they have limited battery life, so people who have them have to undergo surgery to replace the batteries on a five-to-ten-year basis.

Beating in time: A small device can modify pacemakers so that they use kinetic energy from the heart’s beating, converting it into electricity to keep the batteries charged. The researchers added a thin piece of polymer to existing pacemakers, which converts motion into electricity, they explain in Advanced Materials Technologies.

Next steps: The first round of animal studies has just been completed. The team hopes the pacemakers could be available for humans within the next five years.

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