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New Pacemaker Developed that Uses the Heartbeat to Recharge its Battery

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By generating electrical energy from the heartbeat, a new pacemaker developed by scientists in Seattle was able to partially recharge itself.

Although the beat only generated 10% of the energy needed for the next heartbeat, the researchers hope that their breakthrough will become the standard, since changing a battery in a wireless pacemaker requires heart surgery, convincing most people to just implant a second one.

The new device is much smaller than a traditional pacemaker due to its wireless nature, measuring about one-third the size of a AAA battery and residing entirely in the heart’s right ventricle.

“We hope to prolong battery life further and expand access of this product to younger patients, who would hopefully require fewer implants over their lifetime,” said Dr. Babak Nazer of the University of Washington in Seattle, who led the paper demonstrating his team’s new invention.

“When we can improve upon our 10 percent harvesting efficiency, we hope to partner with one of the major pacemaker companies to incorporate our design and housing into an existing leadless pacemaker,” he added.

By converting mechanical energy into electrical energy, the experimental wireless pacemaker housing is able to partially recharge its battery—the same technology used in some experimental electricity-generating roads.

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