New devices that are powered using small differences between body and air temperature being developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) could eliminate or reduce the need for medical devices to run off a battery.
The MIT research conducted on harnessing micro-sources of power may reduce the need for doctors to get beneath a patient’s skin to replace batteries for implanted biomedical monitoring or treatment systems.
The system could enable 24-hour-a-day monitoring of heart rate, blood sugar or other biomedical data through a simple device worn on a patient’s arm or a leg.
Certain semiconductor materials will produce a flow of electrical current when one side is hotter than the other or, conversely, will produce a difference in temperature when a current is run through them.
The MIT team is working on how to miniaturise the system.