People with pacemakers may not need to undergo surgery to replace the battery, if early research pans out.
Researchers at Dartmouth College are working on a thin polymer applied to existing pacemakers that could harvest the heart's mechanical energy to charge the battery, a study released last month has reported. Otherwise, the typical lifespan of a battery is five to 10 years, according to the nonprofit John Hopkins Medicine.
The modified device has gone through a first round of animal studies, and researchers are looking at a five-year time frame for getting it out to humans, according to the MIT Technology Review.
"We are now working hard to improve its efficacy and multi-functionality in hope for its commercialization in the next several years," said Zi Chen, one of the authors of the study, via email.
First published Feb. 6 at 7:27 a.m. PT.
Update, 9:20 a.m. PT: Adds comment from researcher.