Queen’s College Belfast scientists have designed a brand new versatile natural battery that might revolutionise how medical implants are powered.
Units similar to pacemakers are at present fitted with inflexible steel based mostly batteries, which may trigger discomfort.
The cost within the batteries is about to final 3 times so long as of their typical counterparts.
As it’s decomposable, the natural battery can also be anticipated to have environmental advantages.
Analysis chief Dr Geetha Srinivasan from Queen’s College’s Ionic Liquid Laboratories (QUILL) analysis centre mentioned the gadget was additionally non-flammable and had no leakage points.
She mentioned the “versatile supercapacitor” could possibly be used to energy physique sensors similar to pacemakers.
“In medical units similar to pacemakers and defibrillators there are two implants, one which is fitted within the coronary heart and one other which holds the steel based mostly, inflexible batteries – that is implanted underneath the pores and skin,” mentioned Dr Srinivasan.
“The implant underneath the pores and skin is wired to the gadget and might trigger sufferers discomfort as it’s rubs in opposition to the pores and skin.
“For that reason batteries have to be appropriate to the human physique and ideally we wish them to be versatile in order that they’ll adapt to physique shapes.”
Dr Srinivasan mentioned the brand new battery could be safer than the batteries at present in use.
“It avoids utilizing flammable solvents, subsequently you do not have the hazard of explosion,” she mentioned.
The expertise may even have a non medical software in foldable telephones or laptops of the longer term, the designs of that are at present constrained by inflexible batteries.
“Everybody desires to go light-weight and everybody desires to be versatile,” Dr Srinivasan mentioned.
“If the battery goes versatile the entire electronics and gear can go versatile, it is fascinating and thrilling.”
Whereas present batteries include poisonous supplies which can be sophisticated to recycle, natural batteries would merely decompose over time.
The brand new gadget could be manufactured with natural composites utilizing “pure feedstock” (biomaterials similar to cellulose) moderately than costly metals or semiconductors.
However there is no such thing as a hazard of the natural batteries decomposing within the human physique as they solely begin to break down at temperatures above 270C.
With the best funding in place, Dr Srinivasan mentioned the units may simply be commercialised – in order that it could possibly be powering telephones or related units inside the subsequent 5 years.