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Remote Power

May 29, 2014

A new power source could help miniaturize implantable medical device.



Energy for your insides. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.


In the near future, a tiny implantable device could treat chronic nerve pain without drugs. Stanford University electrical engineer Ada Poon says medical implants are nothing new, but they require bulky batteries to function. Her lab has developed an alternative: an energy source that can remotely power devices deep within the body. They did it by combining two types of electromagnetic waves. Team member John Ho explains that near-field waves can transmit energy safely, but not very deeply. Far-field waves can go deep, but aren’t as safe.

JOHN HO (Stanford):

So what we’ve done is that we’ve combine the near-field and the far-field in this technique we call the mid-field powering technique.


He says it could also be used to power tiny pacemakers, treat Parkinson’s disease, and correct chemical imbalances in the body.


Instead of using drugs, we can locally stimulate activity inside your body.


I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.