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Medical devices could be powered by nanowire generators and the human heart

Laura June

Researchers at Georgia Institute of Technology are getting to the heart of the matter, developing nanowire generators which could power medical devices inside a patient that are powered by the patient's own heart. The team -- led by Zhong Lin Wang --first demonstrated working nanowires back in 2005, and have since demo'd the wired generators being powered by a running hamster, tapping fingers, and piezoelectric solar cells. In the most recent and interesting turn of events Zhong and company have just demonstrated the nanowires functioning inside of a living animal (in this case, a rat). These zinc oxide nanogenerators could be ideally suited to as the power source for things like glucose level monitors and blood pressure in the somewhat near future. The ultimate goal, Zhong says, is to make what are essentially self-powered medical devices. Sounds a little creepy, if you ask us, but it's probably better than a hamster running in a wheel powering your pacemaker, right?

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