There is no doubt that pacemakers save lives, but maintenance can be an invasive hassle. Traditional pacemakers require a battery pack embedded under the collarbone with leads threading through veins and into the heart. The leads are large and can cause infection and other complications. A recent Scientific American article reported on a new wireless pacemaker that avoids these issues by employing microwaves instead of wires.
A research team comprised of members from Rice University, the Texas Heart Institute, and Baylor College of Medicine created the heartbeat regulator. A battery located below the patient’s armpit transmits power via microwaves to a capacitor implanted in the heart. The capacitor can power multiple dime-sized chips, inserted wherever the heart needs them, to trigger muscle contractions enabling the organ to pump blood. James Change, an echocardiographer at Harvard University says, “This is certainly the way of the future.”