Product: TET-System SensorArt
EU research project concerning the transcutaneous energy transfer for cardiac systems
Active implants such as cardiac support systems (VAD) or total artificial hearts (TAH) have to be continuously supplied with energy due to their high energy demand. Implanted batteries are not yet efficient enough for the required output of 15 to 30 watt. Consequently, the device needs to be supplied from the outside via a cable connection. This does not only come with severe disadvantages for the patients (e.g. when it comes to showering or getting dressed), but it also increases the risk of infection and injury. Furthermore, real artificial hearts with an energy demand of 25 to 30 watt need an even thicker, and thus rather rigid, cable, which further complicates the patients' everyday life.
In the course of the EU research project "SensorArt", the transcutaneous energy transfer for cardiac systems was developed and tested. With this method, the energy transfer is completely wireless through the skin by means of the inductive connection of two TET magnetic coils (one inside as well as a second one outside the body). In addition to the energy transfer in the range of 15 to 30 watt, this system can also be used for the wireless transmission of sensor data. What is challenging here is, aside from the generation of heat and the risk of injury connected to it, also the stable energy transfer. This can only be ensured if both TET induction coils lie exactly on top of each other. Furthermore, it is dependent on the thickness of the tissue that needs to be penetrated..
During the five-year long research process of this project, em-tec was able to prove the general functionality of a transcutaneous energy transfer for cardiac systems. By doing so, we completed the preliminary stage of a serial development. We were also able to gain central insights into the application of wireless TET systems, their implantability and the problems linked to them. In the course of further research projects, as well as an externally commissioned product development, em-tec is currently advancing this technology to market maturity direction.