Updated on 22 May 2014
Professor Ada Poon from Stanford has mentioned that this technology could pave a way towards more new medical devices
Singapore: Stanford University professor Ms Ada Poon has come up with a new wireless technology that could help patients with medical implants. Ms Poon has sphere headed the discovery of ‘mid-field waves' that could power tiny devices inserted into the body. This technology, she explained could eliminate the bulk of charging stations and batteries.
The Stanford University electrical engineering assistant professor said that patients with implantable medical devices would soon rid themselves of the bulky batteries and charging systems that accompany their tiny devices. Further, she explained how she has developed a way to wirelessly send a charge to the grain-of-rice-sized gadgets that are implanted into patients' bodies, such as small pacemakers, nerve stimulators for pain management and devices of the future.
The hope is that these "electroceutical" treatments will be an alternative to drug treatments. The charging system tested - about the size of a credit card - utilizes about the same power as a mobile phone. The exposure levels are not considered harmful to people, she added.
Professor Poon developed her method by creating "mid-field waves," a mix of near-field and far-field electromagnetic waves. Near-field waves are used in devices such as hearing aids, but their power only extends so far. Far-field waves, on the other hand, can travel long distances (they're beamed from radio towers, for example), but are not suitable for humans, news reports cited.
The wireless charger has been tested on animals and will soon be tested in humans. The technology is still years away from hitting the market, however she added that its detection will open the door for more micro implants that work off a wireless charge - everything from vital function sensors to tools that dispense medication to specific tissue.