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Music-Powered Sensor

February 14, 2012

Sound waves from music, particularly rap, could charge up medical implants.

Transcript

BOB HIRSHON (host):

The power of thumping bass.  I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Once you implant a medical sensor in the body, you don’t want to take it out to change the batteries.  Purdue University electrical engineer Babak Ziaie and his colleagues have figured out a way to charge them from the outside – using music. The key is a tiny cantilever beam built into the sensor, which vibrates in response to certain audio frequencies.  As it vibrates, it generates electricity.

BABAK ZIAIE (Purdue University):

So at those frequencies, when the music is playing, you’re charging the device.  And at other frequencies that are not at the resonant frequency of our receiver, the charge is being dumped into the sensor.

HIRSHON:
Which gives it the power to transmit information.  Although this could be done with pure tones, Ziaie says music works well  –  especially rap, which tends to hit certain low-range frequencies at just the right intervals.

(Music Out)

I’m Bob Hirshon for AAAS, the Science Society.