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Wireless Charging Visits The Hospital

Wireless Charging Visits The Hospital

2016-03-22 11:36:51

NEW YORK – Wireless charging is making its way into hospitals with the goal of eliminating power issues in everything from surgical tools to defibrillators. Medical device and component manufacturer Greatbatch has partnered with wireless charging company WiTricity to create high-performance wireless charging systems for medical devices.


“You might have to change the battery pack [of a surgical tool during an operation], which is a pretty complex process because they have to be sanitized and sterilized,” WiTricity sales engineer Colin McCarthy told EE Times. “With wireless power you could just be putting a tool down on a wireless power tray – it really streamlines the process, and surgery, and eliminates the need to swap out the battery packs.”


Medical devices and the clinicians who use them will benefit from the ability to charge at a distance, as well as the ability to charge through non-metallic materials. Designers will be able “to remove contacts and create closed systems that charge batteries through completely sealed cases, easing sterilization, reducing maintenance, and increasing reliability and availability for these critical tools.”


While devices like a hearing aide require a small amount of power, a medical defibrillator is more power-hungry. WiTricity and Greatbatch’s partnership will focus on technology for 5-100 Watts. No substantial charging architecture redesign is necessary for higher-order devices, McCarthy said.


Wireless power transfer via magnetic resonance may also improve the usability and efficiency of implanted devices. Greatbatch is working on implants that can be wirelessly charged through the skin, Executive Vice President and CTO George Cintra said. He would not provide additional details on the status of those projects.


Greatbatch will pitch wireless charging technology to its partners, which develop medical technology, in the next few weeks. Cintra expects actual placement in hospitals to occur in 18 to 36 months.


— Jessica Lipsky, Associate Editor, EE TimesCircle me on Google+


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