Novel Energy Harvester Technology (NEST)
More than 5,000 patients receive a pacemaker in Denmark each year. Current pacemaker technology necessitates that patients undergo replacement surgery approximately every 8–10 years due to the devices’ finite battery life. Approximately 1,500 of these time-consuming surgeries are performed each year, and each one costs the healthcare system up to 35,000 DKK while the risk of severe infection following the replacement procedure is six times higher than that associated with the initial implantation.
The Inspiration Behind the Innovation
For decades, manufacturers have tried to extend the battery life in pacemakers without success. The most promising solution would be to find a way to develop a self-sustaining pacemaker that’s able to convert the heart’s movement into electrical energy that can power the pacemaker. With such an invention, future pacemaker patients could potentially require a single surgery vs. the multiple surgeries that are required today in order to keep their pacemakers functioning.
The Novel Energy Harvester System Technology for Self-Powering Intracardiac Pacemakers (NEST) creates a new generation of pacemakers that charge themselves through 'motion energy' every time the heart muscle moves. The energy harvester is designed to fit existing leadless pacemakers and could potentially mark a new era in pacemaker solutions. This is the first invention that uses heart kinetic energy to generate electrical energy, and the technology’s potential applications extend beyond pacemakers to other organs. A working prototype of device is currently being evaluated in animal studies.
Sam Riahi: Professor, MD, PhD; Department of Cardiology, Aalborg University Hospital
Alireza Rezaniakolaei: Associate Professor; AAU Energy, Aalborg University
Ali Asghar Enkeshafi: Technology Engineer; AAU Energy, Aalborg University
Majid Khazaee: Post-doc; AAU Energy, Aalborg University
Lasse Rosendahl: Professor, AAU Energy, Aalborg University
Photo credit: Jakob Brodersen (journalist)