Pacemakers and other devices implemented in the human body may work with electricity obtained from blood glucose
This development might reduce surgical interventions needed for the implementation of pacemakers
The Instituto Tecnológico de la Energía (ITE) is researching on the creation of a biocell that use blood glucose to produce energy. This development could reduce the surgical interventions people need for the implementation of pacemakers.
Current batteries are durable enough for those implants that do not need a lot of energy, but when they run down it is necessary a surgical intervention to replace them. Even devices that don’t require a lot of electricity, such as pacemakers, have a limited life due to their dependence on batteries.
The challenge of the research is to develop electrodes with materials that are compatible with the human body and are able to oxidize blood glucose and convert it into ‘fuel’.
«Glucose and oxygen are available in the human body; therefore, the biocell could keep working indefinitely. After the development of the electrodes, the next step is to create a prototype biocell and to verify if it is able to obtain and store enough energy to power small electronic devices that can be implemented, such as pacemakers, cochlear implants, etc.» says Mireia Buaki, the person responsible for the Project in ITE.
Since years ago, ITE has a research line focused on the development of polymer and carbonaceous materials employed in the development of energy generation and storage systems, such as this new biocell. This technology has a great versatility and could have many applications in various fields, such as the analysis and stop of substances in food or the waste water treatment.
This research is part of the “State Program for the Promotion of Talent and its Employability” of the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness.