An isotopic thermoelectric generator was developed in the US by Numec Corporation under a contract from the US Atomic Energy Commission and sold for $3,200 (back in 1974). The thermopile consisted of doped bismuth telluride pairs that were placed in a parallel/series arrangement to generate some 300 μW of power to run this Arco Medical model NU-5F pacemaker. Continue reading
In the late 1960s Medtronic – today the largest manufacturer of implantable medical devices in the world – teamed up with Alcatel, a French company, to design a nuclear-powered pacemaker. The first human implant of the device took place in Paris in 1970.
The nuclear battery in the Medtronic device used a tiny 2.5 Ci slug of metallic Plutonium 238 (Pu-238). The radiation produced by the Pu-238 bombarded the walls of its container, producing heat that a thermopile then converted to an electrical current. A thermopile is a stack of thermocouples, which are devices that convert thermal energy directly into electrical energy using Seebeck effect. A thermocouple is made of two kinds of metal (or semiconductors) connected to each other in a closed loop. If the two junctions are at different temperatures, an electric current will flow in the loop. Continue reading
This nuclear pacemaker was manufactured ca. 1972 by Dr. Orestes Fiandra’s CCC del Uruguay. It was powered by a McDonell-Douglas Betacel 400 which had promethium-147 sandwiched between semiconductor wafers. As the radioactive promethium isotope decays, it emits β-particles (electrons). The impact of the β-particles on a p-n junction causes a forward bias in the semiconductor similar to what happens in a photovoltaic cell (a solar cell).
The Betacel 400 had an open-circuit voltage of 4.7V and a short circuit current of 115μA. The maximum power output was 370μW. CCC’s pacemaker was expected to last for 10 years when powered by this nuclear battery. Continue reading
This was achieved in Uruguay on February 2, 1960 by Dr. Orestes Fiandra and Dr. Roberto Rubio. The pacemaker was manufactured by Dr. Rune Elmqvist of Elema-Schönander in Sweden, and was implanted in Uruguay in a 34-year-old patient with AV block. This unit worked successfully for nine and a half months, until the patient died of sepsis from an unrelated infection. Continue reading
Alfred E. Mann holds B.A. and M.S. degrees in physics from the University of California, Los Angeles and honorary doctorate degrees from the University of Southern California, The Johns Hopkins University, Western University and the Technion Institute (Israel), as well as, Research Professor, University of Southern California, and Adjunct Professor, Dept. of Bioengineering, University of California Los Angeles.
Alfred Mann has founded 17 companies in his career. The AIMD companies currently within his control are:
- Second Sight, which is developing a visual prosthesis to restore sight to the blind
- Quallion, which develops, manufactures and markets advanced batteries for implantable medical devices (as well as for aerospace and military applications)
- Implantable Acoustics, developing an implantable hearing aid Continue reading
The aura6000 is based on ImThera’s Targeted Hypoglossal Neurostimulation (THN) Sleep Therapy™ delivering neurostimulation to the tongue during sleep. The system is comprised of a surgically‐placed multi‐contact electrode specifically designed for the Hypoglossal nerve, and a lead that connects the electrode to a programmable implantable pulse generator (IPG) that is placed in the anterior chest wall. The device delivers muscle tone to key tongue muscles, preventing the tongue from collapsing into the upper airway, thus permitting normal breathing during sleep. Continue reading
Medical Product Manufacturing News announced that ST Microelectronics is developing ultra-low-power Systems On Chip (SOCs) suitable for implantable medical devices. ST Microelectronics’ 65nm features a Vt of only 0.6V that can be used very near threshold. The REISC processor consumes barely 10.8pJ/cycle at 0.6V. This type of technology will certainly enable many new implantable devices that must operate at extremely low powers and squeeze every bit of juice out of their batteries or energy-harvesting means. Click here for link to article.
MetaCure’s TANTALUS II device is an advanced implantable electrical stimulator used to apply gastric stimulation. It works by enhancing the activity of gastric muscles only when the patient eats, which modifies hormone secretion, favorably affecting glucose and fat metabolism. At the same time, the stimulation causes the patient to feel satiated sooner and consume less food. The result is an improvement in blood glucose levels, which is often accompanied by weight loss, and reduction of blood pressure, waist circumference and blood lipid level. Continue reading
Impulse Dynamics’ OPTIMIZER™ III Implantable Pulse Generator delivers Cardiac Contractility Modulation (CCM), non-excitatory electrical signals during the myocardial absolute refractory period in synchrony with locally sensed electrical activity. CCM signals are intended to treat patients with symptomatic heart failure despite appropriate medical treatment. Continue reading