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Project Brief

Wireless Power Transfer

Develop an efficient, wireless power transfer system with new thin-film deposition techniques and millimeter- and micron-scale designs for tiny, implantable power receivers to be used in a range of new and improved therapeutic electrostimulation devices.

Sponsor: Ferro Solutions, Inc.

215 1st Street
Cambridge, MA 02142
  • Project Performance Period: 11/1/2007 - 10/31/2010
  • Total project (est.): $3,017,831.00
  • Requested ATP funds: $1,988,689.00

Ferro Solutions has proposed developing an efficient, wireless mechanism for transmitting electrical power to tiny receivers that could be implanted easily in patients for a range of new therapeutic devices. The technology would be applied initially to neurostimulators. The medical community now uses "pacemaker" technology to electronically stimulate nerves and tissues as a treatment for a wide variety of conditions, including chronic pain and depression, Parkinson's disease, epilepsy and urinary incontinence, with many others under active investigation. One key obstacle to wider use of the basic technique is the need to miniaturize the implants to be able to locate them in otherwise inaccessible parts of the body, and to improve the power sources so they are more convenient for the patient. Current implantable batteries, for instance, are about an inch in diameter and require several hours to recharge using induction from an external charging coil to an implanted receiving coil. Ferro Solutions proposes instead a novel thin-film device that would convert changes in an external magnetic field to an electrical voltage with high efficiency. The company will develop new thin-film deposition techniques and millimeter- and micron-scale designs for producing layered magnetorestrictive and electroactive films. Unlike induction coil devices, the company says, their thin-film technology would scale well to much smaller receivers. If successful, the technology would enable devices the size of a few grains of rice that could be implanted without surgery in many different parts of the body—both less expensive and less risky for the patient. In addition, the small size would greatly expand the number of body locations where it would be feasible to use such devices. Potentially, it could revolutionize the neurostimulation market, which currently is expected to grow to over $2 billion by 2012.

For project information:
Kevin O'Handley, (617) 225-7878

ATP Project Manager
Michael Schen, (301) 975-6741

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