Wireless Power: How will it benefit the medical sector
Wireless power is not a new concept – the idea has been around for over 100 years. However it is today that we actually see mankind make use of the technology to help our everyday lives.
Although already proved popular with those looking to stay connected on the go, the benefits of wireless power and charging are endless. These include:
- Wireless charging of vehicles
- Wireless power in industrial based businesses and warehouses
- Wireless power of house-hold appliances
- Wireless power for the medical industry.
But how exactly will it benefit the medical sector?
From palaeolithic use of bone needles to x-ray use in the field of medical imaging towards the end of the nineteenth century, technology has played an important role in the development of systems around the world. The addition of wireless power technology will be no different and certainly compliment the medical sector as much and as quickly as it begins to benefit the tech-savvy consumer.
The use of wireless power sources or transmitters means we can remove every last cable required to operate most systems. Not only does this have the potential to de-clutter hospitals, but it will also make them cleaner, safer and more hygienic spaces. Where dozens of wires were powering dozens of devices in the past, they can now use a single device connected to a wall, a table or even the floor. Anything placed in close vicinity will automatically get the power it needs to function as it would normally.
A number of companies, including those associated with A4WP and WPC are making big advances in wireless power the technology. While power efficiency of the system is still a debate, the lack of cables, cable housing and wear through consistent use are all areas wireless power solves through the use of magnetic induction.
Additionally, wearable diagnostic devices, such as those being reported by Abi Research, can be worn by the patient to provide doctors and healthcare professionals with real-time reports. Bracelets can be worn to collect data such as pulse rates, temperature and patient activity, whereas headgear can be worn to monitor brain and head activity.
All of these devices serve to take away the clunky and archaic machines that have been integrated into hospitals for many decades now, and as all of them have the possibility to be powered wirelessly, there may come a time when the only thing a patient needs is a bed and a bracelet for effective, real-time monitoring. Abi Research predicts that in just two years sales of wearable devices such as those mentioned will top the 100 million mark, and considering those figures are somewhat less than modest at the moment, it suggests that they are predicting a huge boom in the wireless power and wearable tech industry.
Implanted medical device
Undoubtedly, the downfall concerning the current hospital setup is the money it costs, the wear on physical connectors and the space that traditional systems require to be powered and operational. The up-take of wireless power is not going to be a cheap exercise, but the benefits it will provide the world has the potential to stand head and shoulders above any other advance in technology we have seen.
The potential to wirelessly power human implant devices such as LVADs is also possible. According to Dr Francis Pagani of the University of Michigan wireless power delivery to LVADs could dramatically change mechanical circulatory-support therapy. “If the wireless system of energy transfer were to live up to its potential, it’s a game changer in the field” he told heartwire.
“It would be the single biggest innovation in the field since the development of continuous-flow pumps, which brought LVAD therapy to a different level. Its impact would largely be the improvement in quality of life-greater freedom and mobility, greater patient acceptance, and reduction in infection.”
The future is very much a wireless one, and whilst this is exciting news for those seeking convenience, with more streamlined electronics and the absence of cluttering wires, it is in the hospitals and clinics where wireless power will truly shine and make a significant difference.