2012 Poster Sessions : Wireless Power Transfer Through Biological Tissue

Student Name : John Ho
Advisor : Ada Poon
Research Areas: Information Systems
Implantable medical devices such as cochlear implants, pacemakers, and cardiac defibrillators play an increasingly important role in managing a broad range of medical disorders. These devices perform sensing, drug delivery, and local stimulation inside the patient’s body and will be critical component in continuous treatment and health monitoring systems. The battery comprises of the bulk of most implants, which greatly constrains its placement and introduces complications arising from replacement.

Wireless powering of implantable devices enables the removal of the battery altogether. In place of a battery, a receiver is placed on the implant to harvest energy delivered by an external source. Recently, it was shown that the optimal frequency for wireless power transfer through tissue is about two orders of magnitude higher than previously thought. We present a transmitter operating at the low-GHz range optimized for a tiny implant in biological tissue and the resulting heating effect on tissue studied on a computational human phantom. Optimized wireless power transfer can enable dramatically smaller implants and power transfer at greater depths.

John Ho is a PhD candidate in Prof. Ada Poon's research group in the Department of Electrical Engineering. His current research interests are on human phantom simulations for wireless power transfer and miniature intracellular probes.