SimpleScience@Heart: New device powers pacemakers with your heartbeat
Researchers have found a way to convert a heartbeat into energy that can power a pacemaker.
In a preliminary study presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2012, aerospace engineers at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor developed a prototype cardiac energy harvester. When they connect it to a shaker that makes heartbeat-like vibrations, it generates more than 10 times the energy required to power a pacemaker.
The new device uses piezoelectricity — a fancy word for electrical charge generated from motion.
The approach is promising for pacemakers, because they require only small amounts of power to operate. The heart-powered energy might also power other implantable cardiac devices.
Today’s pacemakers must be surgically replaced every five to seven years when their batteries run out. The new device could one day eliminate the need for replacement pacemakers. It could be especially useful for children who live with pacemakers for many years.
Stories available for linking, quoting, excerpting, reprinting
Stories appearing on blog.heart.org under the "By American Heart Association News" byline are available for linking, quoting, excerpting and reprinting. Copyright is owned or held by the American Heart Association, Inc., and all rights are reserved. Permission is granted, at no cost and without need for further request, to link to, quote, excerpt or reprint from these stories in any medium as long as no text is altered and proper attribution is made to the American Heart Association. Additional conditions may apply to the use of these stories in printed materials.
American Heart Association additional conditions for linking, quoting, excerpting, reprinting stories in print media
- A credit line of American Heart Association News must be prominently placed on the page in which the American Heart Association materials appear.
- The American Heart Association logo and service marks may only be used if they appear on the materials requested.
- Stories reprinted may be edited for length, but no other deletions, alterations or other changes may be made without the prior written consent of the American Heart Association.
- Artwork labeled "American Heart Association" may be reprinted, but other artwork may not. For artwork permission questions, contact email@example.com
- Stories reprinted may not be placed adjacent to any advertisement, photo, graphic or other content that could be considered inappropriate by the American Heart Association. For questions about whether content is inappropriate, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Stories may not be displayed in any way that gives the appearance that the American Heart Association endorses (implied or otherwise) or is affiliated with any product, service or company.