A team of MIT researchers designed and manufactured a milestone deep-body implant, capable of running without a battery. The novel device, considered to the world’s first fully operating wireless medical implant, can potentially help Alzheimer’s and dementia patients who require deep-brain stimulation.
Wireless Medical Implant is No Bigger than a Grain of Rice
In a bid to reduce the size of medical implants, a team of researchers from Massachusetts Institute of Technology recently declared that they’ve successfully tested a deep-body implant that operates on radio waves.
Medical implants are commonly used for a plethora of purposes – from monitoring physiological parameters to regulating the brain’s electrical activity. Although most of these implants are arguably small in size, they do require a battery to function.
In fact, according to a member of the MIT team who devised the wireless medical implant, in pacemakers, the devices commonly used to regulate the heart’s electrical activity, most of its surface is taken by the battery.
However, the new wireless implant requires no battery to operate, meaning that future medical implants will take miniaturization to the next level.
The MIT team declared that the wireless implants use radio waves to communicate with a computer. These waves are powerful enough to penetrate the skin and tissue but not enough to cause any harm to the patient.
The preliminary tests reveal that the wireless medical implant can operate at full capacity even buried in 10 centimeters of tissue.
According to the MIT team, these devices could greatly enhance the quality of medical care in patients with Parkinson’s or epilepsy. More than that, these implants could be used for a wide variety of treatments such as deep-brain stimulation, light therapy, and even drug delivery.
For the moment, the device is roughly the size of a grain rich, but the team is working on making the device smaller.