Smart implant breakthrough

Nov 16, 2017

MagLense, a wireless power innovation set to be a game changer for implants and wearables.

MagLense, a breakthrough in through body wireless power transfer from product design and development firm Cambridge Consultants, is set to revolutionise the world of medical implants and consumer wearable devices.

The system provides flexible, efficient and safe wireless power transfer to devices inside the body without having to worry about precise alignment with the implant, and regardless of the size and body shape of the patient.

The breakthrough promises to free up patients who currently have to spend 4-6 hours per charge cycle charging up their implant batteries. Fast and efficient charging opens the door to a new generation of batteryless smart implants powered wirelessly from power sources up to 50 centimetres away – near a bed or behind an armchair, for example – giving the patient freedom of movement at all times. The efficient way in which the power is targeted and transferred also means that any external power source, for when the patient is outside the home, could be much smaller than today’s devices, which are typically the size of a smartphone.

The MagLense system has been enabled by Cambridge Consultants’ world-leading capabilities in on-body wireless, wireless power delivery, connected implants and state-of-the-art antenna design.

“MagLense addresses one of the ‘holy grails’ of smart implant design” said John Genova, head of smart implant development. “Efficient, safe and targeted through-body power delivery is a critical missing component for next generation implants. Our technology enables a level of performance that opens the door for a whole new generation of implanted therapeutics.”

MagLense technology – which is now ready for integration into devices – could herald a new era of treatment for people with chronic and episodic conditions such as epilepsy, diabetes, obesity and depression. It could enable implants to be used in parts of the body not possible today, and more widespread use of micro implants for targeted nerve stimulation. Beyond medical applications, MagLense could transform the world of consumer wearable devices – permitting charging of phones and other gadgets while in use.

MagLense is a flexible power delivery technology that can conform to different body types without losing – therefore wasting – power. It is self-calibrating to deliver the optimum power for different implant locations, orientations, sizes and shapes. In addition, it intelligently targets only the desired implant – avoiding any heat damage to surrounding tissue or other implants.

As well as taking several hours, the current wireless charging process requires perfect alignment with the battery and can be uncomfortable for the patient if there is heating of the surrounding tissue (a key limiting factor in current systems).

The MagLense system uses multiple uniquely shaped flexible coils to shape the applied magnetic field, to intelligently target an implant. This novel configuration and control architecture enables more efficient power transfer to the implant – allowing much more alignment leeway and higher rates of power delivery. In doing so, it opens the door to not just an improved patient experience, but new powering approaches for many implants, such as on demand wireless powering rather than simply wireless charging.

“This is a real breakthrough, addressing one of the core weaknesses in today’s implant design and solving many of the current clinical and patient challenges,” said Dr. Arun Venkatasubramanian, head of implanted connectivity at Cambridge Consultants.

“By using a power source completely separate from the body, and only when needed, a patient’s day-to-day routine will be transformed and their quality of life drastically improved. This is the latest example of how our unique combination of skills in areas as diverse as wireless communications, medical technology and consumer devices can result in truly world-class innovations that really make a difference to people’s lives.”

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