Micro pacemaker designed for fetuses ready for human trials

When the power runs low, a high-powered field generator can be used to generate a radio frequency magnetic field outside the body. This wirelessly recharges the battery through inductive coupling.

    2017/05/18

NSFW    LOS ANGELES — A micro pacemaker for fetuses developed by researchers at the University of Southern California five years ago is now preparing for its first human trial.

The fetal pacemaker is a slim cylinder with components including a single transistor relaxation oscillator, an epoxy capsule, and a small lithium battery. The pacemaker is implanted into a fetus via a 3.8 mm-diameter insertion cannula.

The battery can only power the device for about a week. When the power runs low, a high-powered field generator can be used to generate a radio frequency magnetic field outside the body. This wirelessly recharges the battery through inductive coupling.

“We’ve been testing and refining the recharging system with the actual pacemakers in anticipation of a first patient. We want to be prepared, if and when such a patient presents,” Gerald Loeb, a biomedical engineer at USC told IEEE.
The device has been tested in sheep fetuses in the past years. The FDA granted humanitarian use for the device in 2015.
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