Rapid progress in the miniaturization of medical devices to design next-generation devices is facing challenges

Business News Agency, January 12th The miniaturization of medical devices has made rapid progress in recent years, but there is still a long way to go and many parts need to be further reduced in size.

The development of next-generation electronic medical devices will face many challenges in electronics and design engineering, such as low power consumption, miniaturization, and radio design. Steve Makl, author of "Medical Electronics Design," said that in the past there was only a demand for miniaturization in the defense and aerospace industries, and this trend has now extended to the telecommunications and medical device industries. Due to the increasing need to seriously consider the application of many electronic engineering, thus prompting manufacturers to find ways to reduce the size of the components.

Reduce power supply volume

Future energy storage technology will be widely used in electronic medical device products. The US Department of Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is working on a sand-sized lithium battery design. Jane Chang, an engineer at the University of California who participated in the research project, developed an electrolyte that can be charged between two poles.

Jane Chang and his colleagues designed lithium batteries to cover the outside of the micron-sized columns, with nano-scale wires inside, and electrolytes to increase the surface-to-volume ratio. Lithium aluminum gallate is a suitable material, but this research is still in its early stages.

Jane Chang explained: "We are trying to complete a new type of power supply with the same power density and the same energy density as a traditional lithium-ion battery, but we have to try our best to reduce the size of this power supply."

Energy Harvesting Technology

Researchers have been trying to reduce the energy demand of radio medical devices. Billy IMEC is working with the Holst Centre in the Netherlands to bring together experts in nanotechnology and radio technology to conduct research. At the beginning of the year, the two companies received the Frost & Sullivan Award for technical innovations in obtaining methods for durable electrocardiogram (ECG) capabilities.

The IMEC and Holst Centre devices made of thermoelectric materials convert the body's heat into electricity and transfer it to an energy storage system. Then, this energy can be used to drive an automated and durable ECG system that instantly transmits ECG signals to the base station via radio.

The entire device is about 14 parts, about 3 x 4 cm square, can be put into a shirt pocket, and has an ECG inside and outside working environment. This device is durable and is not afraid to be washed and dried in a shirt, and it does not require maintenance for life.

Researchers commented on this device: “The maintenance-free, self-powered, life-long use, electrocardiograph that can be placed in a shirt is effective and very convenient for monitoring people’s health. This was impossible to imagine in the past.”

However, energy harvesting technology does not provide enough energy for many personal devices. Locally processing some data may reduce the energy level required for medical devices.


The miniaturization of medical devices has made rapid progress in recent years, but there is still a long way to go. Many parts have yet to be further reduced in size.

However, Steve Makl believes: "Purely reducing the size of a component may not be the most effective for the miniaturization of medical devices. It is necessary to replace the combined passive components with multiple components with higher volumetric efficiency."

Multicomponent components are often used in medical devices, and now more and more miniaturization is required, and radio components will play a greater role in the miniaturization of passive electronics, mainly because arrays increasingly require space savings.

Steve Makl predicts: "The collection of passive components is or will soon play an important role in the development of more smaller medical electronic devices. Therefore, different passive components will be integrated into a single component."

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