Kaist researchers develop battery-free pacemaker

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Kaist researchers develop battery-free pacemaker

Researchers at Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (Kaist) and Yonsei Severance Hospital created the world’s first self-powered pacemaker.

The lead researchers, Kaist’s new materials engineering professor, Lee Kun-jae, and Yonsei medical school professor, Jeong Bo-young, said they expect the experiment to eventually lead to widespread use of self-powered cardiac pacemakers. They said the new device will help prevent heart failure and increase the durability of other medical instruments.

Artificial cardiac pacemakers electrically stimulate a patient’s heart to help it beat normally. Because pacemakers run on batteries, doctors have to surgically replace them from time to time. The surgery is dangerous and inconvenient, especially for the elderly.

But Kaist has developed a patch made of a new material that can be attached to the pacemaker, and will then generate electricity based on small body movements. This eliminates the need for batteries and means the pacemaker will last longer. The new patch also makes it possible to monitor the heart rate in real-time, which was previously impossible due to a lack of energy. Results of the experiment were published in Advanced Material’s July issue.

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