MANHASSET, NY -- Researchers at Purdue University have developed a MEMS sensor that uses the low bass sounds of rap music to selectively power the device when implanted in the body.
Music within frequencies 200-500 hertz causes the micro-electomechanical system’s cantilever to vibrate, generating electricity and storing a charge in a capacitor.
"The acoustic energy from the music can pass through body tissue, causing the cantilever to vibrate and effectively recharge the pressure sensor,” said Babak Ziaie, professor of electrical and computer engineering and biomedical engineering, in a statement.
In operation, when the frequency falls outside of the proper range, the cantilever stops vibrating, automatically sending the electrical charge to the sensor, which takes a pressure reading and transmits data as radio signals. Because the frequency is continually changing according to the rhythm of a musical composition, the sensor can be induced to repeatedly alternate intervals of storing charge and transmitting data.
The technology offers potential benefits over conventional implantable devices, which either use batteries or receive power through inductance. Batteries have to be replaced periodically, and data are difficult to retrieve from devices that use inductance.
The MEMS device might ultimately help treat people stricken with aneurisms or incontinence due to paralysis. "You would only need to do this for a couple of minutes every hour or so to monitor either blood pressure or pressure of urine in the bladder," Ziaie said.
The sensor is capable of monitoring pressure in the urinary bladder and in the sack of a blood vessel damaged by an aneurism. The conventional diagnostic method now is to insert a probe with a catheter, which must be in place for several hours while the patient remains at the hospital.
"A wireless implantable device could be inserted and left in place, allowing the patient to go home while the pressure is monitored," Ziaie said.
Researchers experimented with four types of music: rap, blues, jazz and rock. "Rap is the best because it contains a lot of low frequency sound, notably the bass," Ziaie said.
The operation of the miniature medical sensor powered by acoustic waves.
Findings are detailed in a paper to be presented during the IEEE MEMS conference
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