New energy harvesting technology set to reduce number of open-heart surgeries

Dec 18, 2013

Researchers at the University of Waterloo have developed a new technology that could dramatically reduce the number of open-heart surgeries for people with pacemakers.

Professor Armaghan Salehian's research group has developed wideband hybrid energy harvesters that use different types of smart materials to convert ambient vibrations into electricity. Used in pacemakers, the technology could mean that batteries last longer and patients will have to endure fewer open-heart surgeries.

"If a two-year-old child has to go through every seven or eight years that could translate into approximately ten surgeries in his or her life span to implant new pacemakers," said Professor Salehian of Waterloo's Department of Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering. "The number may be reduced noticeably by harvesting energy through vibrations and human motion to prolong the battery life."

Salehian's team, which includes graduate and undergraduate mechanical and mechatronics engineering students, completed a prototype for the new in August that has also shown potential for various wireless sensing applications.

There is strong demand for more energy-efficiency units in today's technology thanks to the increased use of electronic devices ranging from mobile phones and wireless sensors to medical implants. Self-sustained systems that can harvest different forms of have the potential to lower costs and the need for regular battery replacements in devices such as .

While other researchers have undertaken similar work, the majority have developed devices designed for narrower ranges of vibration frequencies. For example, if an individual is moving at a certain pace, the device produces power but as soon as the rate of motion is changed or the frequencies are slightly different, the amount of power reduces significantly.

"The prototype we've developed uses a combination of so the amount of harvested energy can be increased at a wider range of frequencies," said Professor Salehian. "This research could also be used to power wireless sensors that help detect cracks and damage to buildings."

Explore further: 'Smart' pacemaker can help slow heart keep up, avoid damage

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Creating smarter infrastructure

Jan 11, 2013

A team from the Centre for Smart Infrastructure and Construction have developed a mechanical amplifier to convert ambient vibrations into electricity more effectively, which could be used to power wireless sen ...

'Smart' pacemaker can help slow heart keep up, avoid damage

Nov 19, 2013

A new generation pacemaker that paces only when rhythm disturbances occur can reduce the risk of permanent abnormal heart rhythms in people with a slow heart rate, according to late-breaking research presented at the American ...

Good vibrations

Mar 23, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- Energy harvesting - using vibrations from the environment to produce electricity - has been around for over a decade, but Dr Stephen Burrow and his team in the Department of Aerospace Engineering at the University ...

Recommended for you

Wireless sensor transmits tumor pressure

Sep 20, 2014

The interstitial pressure inside a tumor is often remarkably high compared to normal tissues and is thought to impede the delivery of chemotherapeutic agents as well as decrease the effectiveness of radiation ...

Seeing through the fog (and dust and snow) of war

Sep 19, 2014

Degraded visibility—which encompasses diverse environmental conditions including severe weather, dust kicked up during takeoff and landing and poor visual contrast among different parts of terrain—often ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

COCO
5 / 5 (1) Dec 19, 2013
well done - nice to see a matrix of technologies combining to provide solutions.