Chinese scientists have come up with an extraordinary under-the-skin wireless charger that they hope could help fuel biodegradable drug delivery systems sometime in the future. The new implant is covered in a paper published in the journal Science Advances. According to reports from the South China Morning Post, the prototype of the system is both biodegradable and flexible.
While scientists have previously come up with biodegradable power supply units, they’re only unable to generate the power that is needed for biomedical applications, the new paper claims. That’s why researchers worked to create a new unit that is both biodegradable and capable of generating the correct amount of power.
The goal of this new under-the-skin wireless charger is to provide high-energy storage performance while also offering “favoured tissue interfacing properties.” This makes it flexible and soft in design, allowing it to easily adapt to the shape of tissue and organs during any procedure.
The reason that a system like this is needed is because non-biodegradable options often require additional surgeries in order to replace or recharge their batteries. By making the entire thing strong enough to power medical devices while also being biodegradable, they won’t need to rely on additional surgeries in order to remove the device.
The under-the-skin wireless charger currently consists of a magnesium coil that passes through a small circuit before entering the energy storage module. This module is made up of zinc-ion hybrid supercapacitors, allowing it to store electrical energy directly instead of relying on chemical energy storage like standard batteries.
It’s an intriguing invention that could revolutionize how we work with biomedical devices. However, it is currently still in early development, and while the prototype shows promise, there is still a lot of work to be done if the researchers want to scale it up properly to fill the needs of the medical industry around the world.
It’s also possible that systems like this could one day change how we charge wireless devices, including those we use every day, like smartphones, tablets, and laptops. If nothing else, at least we have edible batteries made of almonds.