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Device Uses Heartbeat to Power Pacemaker

In a study presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2012, an experimental device converted energy from a beating heart to provide enough electricity to power a pacemaker. The findings suggest that patients could power their pacemakers — eliminating the need for replacements when batteries are spent.

Researchers measured heartbeat-induced vibrations in the chest. Then, they used a “shaker” to reproduce the vibrations in the laboratory and connected it to a prototype cardiac energy harvester they developed. Measurements of the prototype’s performance, based on sets of 100 simulated heartbeats at various heart rates, showed the energy harvester performed as the scientists had predicted — generating more than 10 times the power than modern pacemakers require.

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