Now that's energy scavenging: In-body microgenerator gets power from the heartbeat

A Self-Energizing Implantable Medical Microsystem (SIMM) microgenerator harvests energy by using differential pressure within the chambers of the heart to help augment the existing battery for implanted medical devices, such as cardiac pacemakers and implanted cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs).

The device was developed by Zarlink Semiconductor, InVivo Technology Limited, Perpetuum Limited, Finsbury Orthopaedics and Odstock Medical. In preclinical testing, the microgenerator successfully produced one-third of the energy required to power a conventional cardiac pacemaker (excluding pacing demand).

"The SIMM microgenerator will help enable new implanted medical devices that support more advanced applications and functionality, while also improving quality-of-life for patients by enabling smaller products with a longer operating life," said Martin McHugh, business development manager with Zarlink Semiconductor's Advanced Packaging group and SIMM project coordinator.

For more information on the SIMM project, visit:

The device recently was named the winner of the Emerging Technology Award at the Institution of Engineering and Technology's (IET) Innovation Awards 2009 in London, England.

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