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Heart Is Where the Chips Are, Helping Keep the Beat


Part of the new wireless pacemaker array.

Researchers at Rice University worked with cardiologists at the Texas Heart Institute to design a pacemaker that would insert a network of pacemaker chips the size of a grain of rice inside the heart.

Credit: Brandon Martin

Researchers at Rice University have demonstrated a wireless pacemaker array that opens new possibilities for medical sensors.

The team worked with cardiologists at the Texas Heart Institute to design a pacemaker that would insert a network of chips the size of a grain of rice in different locations inside the heart; the chips would communicate with a base station under the patient's skin, charging via radio frequency energy harvesting. When the base station detects a heart rhythm problem, it signals the embedded chips to release a jolt of energy to restore the normal rhythm.

The new device addresses shortcomings with current pacemakers, which the researchers say are effective only in pacing a single chamber of the heart.

From Rice University
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