We’ve all but figured out how to make robots and machines tiny enough to operate inside the human body. The tricky part is figuring out a way to power them that’s safe for the host. In lieu of bulky batteries or inconvenient wires, researchers at Stanford University have developed an implantable wireless chip that can be powered by the same ultrasound waves used to safely image a foetus in the womb.
Spending a couple of hours at a deafening concert probably bombards your body with more sound waves than are needed to power these tiny implants, which are made from a piezoelectric material that produces energy as it’s compressed and decompressed. And while this system doesn’t produce nearly enough power to keep something like your smartphone charged, there’s more than enough electricity generated to keep the sensors and tiny radios inside these chips powered, allowing them to monitor a patient’s vital signs from within, or deliver medications to a specific part of the body. [Stanford University via Damn Geeky]