Feature Ready Technologies to Look Out For In 2017

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Powering medical implants with solar cells

The notion of using solar cells placed under the skin to continuously recharge implanted electronic medical devices is a viable one. Swiss researchers have found that a 3.6-square-centimetre solar cell is all that is needed to generate enough power during winter and summer seasons to power a typical pacemaker.

The study is the first to provide real-life data about the potential of using solar cells to power devices such as pacemakers and deep brain stimulators. According to lead author Lukas Bereuter of Bern University Hospital and University of Bern in Switzerland, wearing power-generating solar cells under the skin can one day save patients the discomfort of having to continuously undergo procedures to change the batteries of such life-saving devices.

(a) Cross-sectional view of the measurement device. The solar cells (1) are located directly below the optical filters (2), while the PCB (3) and the battery (5) are enclosed in the housing (4). (b) Measurement device on the upper arm (Image courtesy: www.energymatters.com.au)

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