US engineers from Rice University’s Brown School of Engineering have claimed that a singular transmitter, located externally on the human body, can provide power and programming to spinal and heart cord implants.
The engineers showed that an alternating magnetic field controlled and created by a transmitter powered by batteries outside the body could deliver power and programming to two or more implants to at least sixty millimetres away.
“A singular transmitter can provide power and programming to spinal and heart cord implants. “
A peer-reviewed paper about the advance by Kaiyuan Yang, an electrical and computer engineering, and his colleagues at the university’s school of engineering won the best paper award at the virtual IEEE’s Custom Integrated Circuits Conference, held in April 2021.
Yang stated: “We show it’s possible to program the implants to stimulate in a coordinated pattern. We synchronise every device, like a symphony. That gives us a lot of degrees of freedom for stimulation treatments, whether it’s for cardiac pacing or for a spinal cord. There’s a study on spinal cord regeneration that shows multisite stimulation in a certain pattern will help in the recovery of the neuro system. There is clinical research going on, but they’re all using benchtop equipment. There are no implantable tools that can do this.”