Digital technologies are rapidly developing in almost every industry, but the healthcare sector is making particularly large strides. The emergence of bio-compatible batteries that are reliable, safe for patients, and can withstand conditions in and on the human body is often a key enbaler for many digital health solutions.
In addition to bio-compatibility, size also plays a role in a battery’s suitability for use in medical devices, surgical instruments, and other healthcare applications. For example, implantable sensors at the millimeter scale need power solutions that are appropriately sized. Bio-compatible batteries are the answer for this and many more medical applications.
Bio-compatible Batteries and Health Applications
Some of the applications that are perfect for bio-compatible batteries include:
Medical sensors for wearables – Disposable or rechargeable devices that adhere to the skin to collect and transmit physiological data allow doctors to remotely monitor metrics such as heart rate, breathing rate, sleep quality, body position, and activity levels. Due to close proximity of these devices to the human skin, biocompatibility in batteries is often a desirable feature. Patients can also use these types of sensing devices for self-monitoring and as motivation for compliance with a physician’s treatment recommendations. At the micro scale, intraocular sensors have been developed to monitor eye health in glaucoma patients.
Drug delivery – Thin, flexible batteries in transdermal drug delivery patches continue to be refined, and bio-compatible batteries are increasingly finding use in other applications such as implantable drug delivery devices, such as pumps for delivering insulin or pain medication.
Ingestible Medical devices – In addition to the wearable technologies that can help doctors and patients identify disease conditions and other health risks, ingestible or injectable devices can help identify deeper health problems. For example, Google’s research lab is working on a device that would enter the bloodstream, adhere to unwanted materials like cancer cells or arterial plaque, and send a signal to indicate the presence of these materials. Other applications include camera pills that can image the insides of the body, drug delivery systems or sensors powered by tiny micro-batteries.
Surgical instruments – Small surgical instruments with embedded RFID tags require battery power to transmit their location to ensure that they are all accounted for at the end of a procedure. In addition to being bio-compatible, these batteries must also be able to withstand the conditions of an autoclave when they are sterilized for future use.
As battery technology has become less of a limiting factor, researchers have been able to push the limits of development. Bio-compatible batteries have enabled the evolution of new skin sensors, diagnostic tools, wearable monitors, and other medical devices that are changing the landscape of healthcare.
If you are interested in learning more about bio-compatible batteries, or if you need custom battery development for an application you are working on, contact FlexEl today. We work with all types of industries, including medical, to create custom batteries solutions for a broad range of applications.