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PostPosted: 29 Apr 2019 21:42 
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Scientists have built a pacemaker that could be charged by the beating of a heart, eliminating the need for batteries that have to be replaced surgically. It is run by a nanogenerator, which harvests energy generated as the heart beats and converts it into electricity.

The “symbiotic pacemaker” was developed by Chinese scientists who have tested it successfully in pigs, whose hearts are about the same size as humans’. In the trials it was capable of correcting an abnormal heartbeat.

The batteries of present pacemakers are bulky, and may need replacing in 5 to 12 years. The new device is a thin sheet that is attached to the surface of the heart. When the heart beats, the sheet bends and generates electricity.

Zhou Li, of the Beijing Institute of Nanoenergy and Nanosystems, published the study in the journal Nature Communications.

The device might also make the lives of crematorium workers a little less hazardous, since pacemaker batteries can explode when heated.

The technology could also be used to power devices that stimulate nerve cells to treat degenerative conditions, and implantable sensors that monitor vital signs and blood pressure.

Tim Chico, a professor of cardiovascular medicine at Sheffield University, who was not involved in the research, said: “The study results are very encouraging but there is a lot of work to be done before it might be used in humans.”

Based on the report by Rhys Blakely, Science Correspondent of The Times

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