The FREE-D system uses magnetically coupled resonators to transfer wireless power into the body to implanted heart pumps known as LVADs.
Ventricular assist device (VAD) therapy has significantly improved patient outcomes by technological innovations based on smaller, frictionless, single moving part pumps that have overcome the failures associated with earlier larger and more complicated models. However, the continued presence of drive-lines (which are the wires that exit the body) undermines the full potential these newer VADs can offer. Drive-lines are well recognized as a source for infection, increased morbidity, re-hospitalizations, and limit the movement that patients demand and deserve. Older, inductive based technologies used for wireless power are hampered by a short range of a few millimeters, alignment issues, and poor efficiency.
Our team is developing the Free-range Resonant Electrical Energy Delivery (FREE-D) wireless power system which uses coupled resonators to efficiently transfer power over meter distances. Previous work has shown the successful application of the FREE-D system to wirelessly power an axial VAD at upwards of 80% efficiency. The power was delivered over a one meter distance without interruptions or fluctuations with coil, rectifier and regulator efficiency over 80% and overall system efficiency of 54%. The next steps in the research include refining the FREE-D system for animal trials. This will require a biocompatible enclosure that will allow efficient transfer of wireless power from the external transmitter to the implanted receiver.
Sezai Innovation Award, for "Promise of unrestricted mobility and freedom with wireless powering of a Ventricular Assist Device (VAD)," at the 19th congress of the International Society of Rotary Blood Pumps, Louisville, KY September 8th to 10th, 2011.
Willem Kolff/Donald B. Olsen Award, for most promising research in the development of artificial hearts, for paper “Innovative Free-Range Resonant Electrical Energy Delivery System (FREE‐D System) for a Ventricular Assist Device Using Wireless Power,” presented at American Society forArtificial Internal Organs (ASAIO), June 2011.
MIT Technology Review: "A Heart Pump Without a Cord" - July 2011
The Economist: "A Wireless Heart" - April 2011
MSNBC: "Artificial Heart Goes Wireless — and Gets Safer" - July 2011
TG Daily: "Wireless power cuts cord for heart pump patients" - July 2011
Daily Tech: "Researchers Develop Wireless Heart Pump System" - July 2011
News Atlas: "Wireless Power for Heart Implants Could Reduce Infections, Increase Mobility" - July 2011
Physics Inventions: "Wireless Power could cut cord for patients with implanted heart pumps" - July 2011
Futurity: "Wireless Heart Pump Cuts The Cord" - July 2011
This project explores the use of magnetically coupled resonators to safely deliver 10s-100s of watts of power wirelessly to receivers. Our key contribution is the development of adaptive tuning techniques that enable near constant power transfer efficiency, as a function of varying transmitter-to-receiver range and orientation as well as changes in the loads power consumption.