< Battery Implant Fueled by Bodily Fluids Developed > (March 13)
- New battery may provide near-permanent power source for medical implants
The Ministry announced the "developed of a bio-implantable battery that can store energy using bodily fluids such as blood or lymph and can be used without external attachments for extended periods of time."
The study was conduced by a research team headed by Professor No Gwang-cheol of the Korea Institute of Ceramic Engineering and Technology (KICET) and Professor Heo Yun-seok of Inha University, with assistance from the Ministry's Basic Science Program (Individual Researcher); the results of the study was published in the February 13 issue of Nano Energy, a leading international journal.
- Paper: A biocompatible implant electrode capable of operating in body fluids for energy storage devices
Current implantable medical devices are powered by internal or external batteries. External batteries are connected with wires and supply energy from outside the wearer's body, while internal batteries are implanted with the device.
The research team sought to address the limitations of both external batteries, which can cause secondary infections due to corrosion in the wiring that inevitably must pass and remain though the body's tissue as well as external shock to the battery pack, and internal batteries that are limited in capable and thus require re-implantation as well as the dangers of toxic shock due to leakage. The team found a solution in the use of common bodily fluids as the battery's electrolyte solution. The study was also the first in the world to implant such a device in mice to verify the possibility of using bodily fluid to power a battery,
The team enhanced bio-compatibility of the battery by using materials with high bio-affinity to allow the electrodes to be directly exposed to bodily fluids and allow energy to be stored and released using the attraction and detachment of ions in the fluid; the team also verified the validity of the theory by implanting such a battery in mice and operating the battery.
Capable of being charged with a person's own bodily fluids, the new battery would be nearly permanent and enable the development of new medical devices that had previously been hobbled by the limited capacity of internal batteries.
Dr. No and Professor Heo said, "The team has developed a bio-implantable battery that is powered by the body's own fluids with the insertion of electrodes made using bio-friendly materials," adding that "the breakthrough reduces the burden of performing surgery to replace batteries in implanted devices, delivering steady power for years. The new technology will enable the development of new nano-scale medical devices and other revolutionary health care devices."