2020/07/08 | Research | Surgical technologies

Solar Powered Electric Implants

Researchers in Cardiovascular Engineering from the ARTORG Center, Inselspital Department of Cardiology and sitem Center have investigated the possibility of powering a cardiac pacemaker via subdermal solar energy harvesting. In a first simulation, the team were able to show that a solar cell implanted subdermally at a depth of 3 mm on the patient's neck could supply a pacemaker by only 10 minutes of midday solar irradiation.

Illustration from Tholl et al., Applied Energy 2020, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apenergy.2020.114948


Patients with a cardiac pacemaker need to replace their device's battery periodically. This requires surgery. An alternative could be to supply pacemakers with solar power. Researchers from the ARTORG Center, Inselspital and the sitem Center for Translational Medicine and Biomedical Entrepreneurship have investigated the energy harvested by a solar cell implanted subdermally. The 10 minutes solar irradiation needed to supply the pacemaker may be shortened using adapted solar cells that can capture the spectral subdermal fluence, which strongly differs from natural solar irradiance.

Link to the study...

Cardiovascular Engineering Lab