Power from the heart

A microgenerator that converts energy from heartbeats into power for implanted medical devices has been named winner of the Emerging Technology Award at the Institution of Engineering and Technology’s (IET) Innovation Awards 2009.

The Self-Energizing Implantable Medical Microsystem (SIMM) microgenerator was developed by Zarlink Semiconductor, InVivo Technology, Perpetuum, Finsbury Orthopaedics and Odstock Medical.

The SIMM microgenerator harvests energy by using differential pressure within the chambers of the heart to help augment the existing battery for implanted medical devices, such as cardiac pacemakers and implanted cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs).

In preclinical testing, the microgenerator successfully produced one-third of the energy required to power a conventional cardiac pacemaker (excluding pacing demand).

In December 2006, the SIMM consortium received £560,000 in matched funding from the government-backed Technology Strategy Board to develop a prototype device capable of harvesting energy from body movement.

For more information on the SIMM project, visit: http://www.implantgen.com