The Rice University Love and Pace team, composed of electrical and computer engineering seniors, designed a pacemaker that places a network of chips inside a demo heart. These chips are the size of rice grains, and they communicate with a base station located under the patient’s skin while charging from radio frequency.
Essentially, the chip is a node that is embedded within the heart. This then provides a sensor and stimulation within the chamber of the heart so doctors can wirelessly see what is happening.
Additionally, the base station would sense if there is a problem with the rhythm of the heart, and trigger the embedded chips to release a jolt of energy to stimulate the heart back to normal rhythm.
“If things aren’t working out well in the heart, the aggregator would say, ‘Hey, guys, I need you to pace,’” said team member Yoseph Maguire, according to a release. “They would continuously pace until the aggregator observed that things are good in all the chambers.”
They decided to keep everything wireless to help avoid pathologies that otherwise form from a normal pacemaker.
The demo consists of a 3D printed heart with different programmed anomalies that trigger sensor-simulator chips to detect problems. Although, the team knows this is only the first step they hope future teams can progress this project for real world situations.