INAE Monthly E-News Letter Vol. VIII, Issue 7, July 1, 2017

 (+) Academy Activities

From the Editor’s Desk

Only a smart hires a real smart

Who has better chance of survival — the most selfish or the least selfish? What is better for survival — combat or networking, competition or cooperation?

According to one view, evolution by natural s Read more...

Purnendu Ghosh
Chief Editor of Publications

 (+) Editorial Board, INAE

 (+) Articles by INAE Fellows

Dr Purnendu Ghosh
Dr Baldev Raj
Dr K V Raghavan
Dr Sanak Mishra
Prof. Indranil Manna
Prof BS Murty
Prof Sanghamitra Bandyopadhyay
Prof Pradip Dutta
Prof Manoj K Tiwari
Prof Sanjay Mittal
Prof Prasun K Roy
Brig Rajan Minocha

 (+) Engineering and Technology Updates

  Civil Engineering

  Computer Engineering  and Information Technology

  Mechanical Engineering

  Chemical Engineering

  Electrical Engineering

  Electronics and Communication Engineering

  Aerospace Engineering

  Mining, Metallurgical and Materials Engineering

  Energy Engineering

  Interdisciplinary Engineering and Special Fields 

 (+) Engineering Innovation in India
 (+) Previous E-newsletter

 

Civil Engineering

1. This Hydrogen-Powered Train Emits Only Water

Imagine a nearly silent train that glides along its tracks emitting nothing more toxic than water.

In March 2017, Germany conducted successful tests of the world’s first “Hydrail” — a hydrogen powered, zero-emission train.”The new train is 60% less noisy than a traditional diesel train, completely emission free,” said Jens Sprotte of Alstom, the French producer of the train. “Its speed and the possibility to transport passengers match the performance of a diesel train.””The only sound it gives off comes from the wheels and air resistance,” Sprotte added.Here’s how the new technology works:The Hydrail uses the same equipment as a diesel train but substitutes hydrogen as its fuel source. Large fuel cells sitting on top of the train combine hydrogen and oxygen to generate electricity, which is then transferred to lithium ion batteries.Energy that is not immediately used can be stored for later use, increasing fuel efficiency. The train’s only emissions are steam and water, resulting in minimal impact to the environment.”Each two-car train set requires a fuel cell and a 207 pound tank of hydrogen to supply it. The oxygen is supplied from the air around the train.The train can travel up to 500 miles per day on a single tank of hydrogen, carrying 300 passengers at a time.The first operational trains will roll out by the beginning of 2018, providing a green alternative to the 4,000 diesel trains currently operating in Germany. According to the EU, about 20% of Europe’s current rail traffic runs on diesel.The new train is ideally suited for short stretches of the European network that have not been converted to electric rails.Germany is particularly interested in reducing its greenhouse gas emissions.Kristina Juhrich of the German Environment Agency said last year’s emissions levels will make it difficult for the country to reach its climate target and reduce emissions by 40% in 2020.Alstom are hoping the train will turn a profit within its first couple years of operation. They hope the model will replace Germany’s fleet of diesel trains in five to 20 years.

 

Source : http://money.cnn.com/2017/04/12/technology/germany-hydrogen-powered-train/index.html

 

Computer Engineering and Information Technology

2.  Learning with Light: New System Allows Optical ‘Deep Learning’

This futuristic drawing shows programmable nanophotonic processors integrated on a printed circuit board and carrying out deep learning computing.

“Deep Learning” computer systems, based on artificial neural networks that mimic the way the brain learns from an accumulation of examples, have become a current topic in computer science. In addition to enabling technologies such as face- and voice-recognition software, these systems could scour vast amounts of medical data to find patterns that could be useful diagnostically, or scan chemical formulas for possible new pharmaceuticals. But the computations these systems must carry out are highly complex and demanding, even for the most powerful computers. Now, a team of researchers at MIT and elsewhere has developed a new approach to such computations, using light instead of electricity, which they say could vastly improve the speed and efficiency of certain deep learning computations. A researcher says that many researchers over the years have made claims about optics-based computers, but that “people dramatically over-promised, and it backfired.” While many proposed uses of such photonic computers turned out not to be practical, a light-based neural-network system developed by this team “may be applicable for deep-learning for some applications,” he says. Traditional computer architectures are not very efficient when it comes to the kinds of calculations needed for certain important neural-network tasks. Such tasks typically involve repeated multiplications of matrices, which can be very computationally intensive in conventional CPU or GPU chips. After years of research, the MIT team has come up with a way of performing these operations optically instead. “This chip, once you tune it, can carry out matrix multiplication with, in principle, zero energy, almost instantly,” the lead researcher says. “We’ve demonstrated the crucial building blocks but not yet the full system.” By way of analogy, he points out that even an ordinary eyeglass lens carries out a complex calculation (the so-called Fourier transform) on the light waves that pass through it. The way light beams carry out computations in the new photonic chips is far more general but has a similar underlying principle. The new approach uses multiple light beams directed in such a way that their waves interact with each other, producing interference patterns that convey the result of the intended operation. The resulting device is something the researchers call a programmable nanophotonic processor. The result is that the optical chips using this architecture could, in principle, carry out calculations performed in typical artificial intelligence algorithms much faster and using less than one-thousandth as much energy per operation as conventional electronic chips. “The natural advantage of using light to do matrix multiplication plays a big part in the speed up and power savings, because dense matrix multiplications are the most power hungry and time consuming part in AI algorithms” a researcher says.

The new programmable nanophotonic processor uses an array of waveguides that are interconnected in a way that can be modified as needed, programming that set of beams for a specific computation. “You can program in any matrix operation,” a researcher says. The processor guides light through a series of coupled photonic waveguides. The team’s full proposal calls for interleaved layers of devices that apply an operation called a nonlinear activation function, in analogy with the operation of neurons in the brain. To demonstrate the concept, the team set the programmable nanophotonic processor to implement a neural network that recognizes four basic vowel sounds. Even with this rudimentary system, they were able to achieve a 77 percent accuracy level, compared to about 90 percent for conventional systems. There are “no substantial obstacles” to scaling up the system for greater accuracy, he says. A researcher  adds that the programmable nanophotonic processor could have other applications as well, including signal processing for data transmission. “High-speed analog signal processing is something this could manage” faster than other approaches that first convert the signal to digital form, since light is an inherently analog medium. “This approach could do processing directly in the analog domain,” he says. The team says it will still take a lot more effort and time to make this system useful; however, once the system is scaled up and fully functioning, it can find many user cases, such as data centres or security systems. The system could also be a boon for self-driving cars or drones, says a researcher, or “whenever you need to do a lot of computation but you don’t have a lot of power or time.”



Source : https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/06/170612153538.htm
 

 

Mechanical Engineering

3.  Interactive Tool Helps Novices and Experts Make Custom Robots

An interactive design tool developed by Carnegie Mellon University was used to design and test in simulation two robots that were then produced using off-the-shelf components and 3-D-printed parts.

A new interactive design tool developed by Carnegie Mellon University’s Robotics Institute enables both novices and experts to build customized legged or wheeled robots using 3D-printed components and off-the-shelf actuators.Using a familiar drag-and-drop interface, individuals can choose from a library of components and place them into the design. The tool suggests components that are compatible with each other, offers potential placements of actuators and can automatically generate structural components to connect those actuators.Once the design is complete, the tool provides a physical simulation environment to test the robot before fabricating it, enabling users to iteratively adjust the design to achieve a desired look or motion.”The process of creating new robotic systems today is notoriously challenging, time-consuming and resource-intensive,” said Stelian Coros, assistant professor of robotics. “In the not-so-distant future, however, robots will be part of the fabric of daily life and more people — not just roboticists — will want to customize robots. This type of interactive design tool would make this possible for just about anybody.”Coros’ team designed a number of robots with the tool and verified its feasibility by fabricating two — a wheeled robot with a manipulator arm that can hold a pen for drawing, and a four-legged “puppy” robot that can walk forward or sideways.”The system makes it easy to experiment with different body proportions and motor configurations, and see how these decisions affect the robot’s ability to do certain tasks,” said a researcher. “For instance, we discovered in simulation that some of our preliminary designs for the puppy enabled it to only walk forward, not sideways. We corrected that for the final design. The motions of the robot we actually built matched the desired motion we demonstrated in simulation very well.”The research team developed models of how actuators, off-the-shelf brackets and 3D-printable structural components can be combined to form complex robotic systems. The iterative design process enables users to experiment by changing the number and location of actuators and to adjust the physical dimensions of the robot. The tool includes an auto-completion feature that allows it to automatically generate assemblies of components by searching through possible arrangements.

“Our work aims to make robotics more accessible to casual users,” Coros said. “This is important because people who play an active role in creating robotic devices for their own use are more likely to have positive feelings and higher quality interactions with them. This could accelerate the adoption of robots in everyday life.”



Source: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/05/170530115035.htm
 

 

Chemical Engineering

4.  New Fabric Coating Could Thwart Chemical Weapons, Save Lives

A new fabric coating could neutralize chemical weapons and help save countless lives.

Chemical weapons are nightmarish. In a millisecond, they can kill hundreds, if not thousands. But, in a study scientists report that they have developed a way to adhere a lightweight coating onto fabrics that is capable of neutralizing a subclass of these toxins — those that are delivered through the skin. The life-saving technique could eventually be used to protect soldiers and emergency responders.Since their first use in World War I, dozens of chemical weapons with devastating potential have been developed. For example, just a pinprick-sized droplet of the nerve gas sarin on the skin is lethal. Recently, scientists have begun exploring the use of zirconium-based metal-organic framework (MOF) powders to degrade and destroy these harmful compounds. MOFs are miniscule, porous structures that have large surface areas that allow them to absorb vast amounts of gases and other substances. The zirconium within them helps neutralize toxic materials. But making MOFs can be tedious, requiring high temperatures and long reaction times. Plus, most MOF powders are unstable and incorporating them onto clothing has proven challenging. Dennis Lee, and colleagues wanted to see if they could “grow” MOFs onto fabric at room temperature, potentially creating a lightweight shield that could be used on uniforms and protective clothing.Building on previous work, the researchers exposed polypropylene, a nonwoven fabric commonly used in reusable shopping bags and some clothing, to a mixture consisting of a zirconium-based MOF, a solvent and two binding agents. To ensure that the coating spread evenly across the cloth, they treated the fabrics with thin layers of aluminum, titanium or zinc oxide. They tested this combination with dimethyl 4-nitrophenyl phosphate (DMNP), a relatively harmless molecule that has similar reactivity as sarin, soman and other nerve agents. They found that the MOF-treated cloths deactivated the DMNP in less than 5 minutes, suggesting this process is a viable means to create improved protective clothing.



Source: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/06/170607123930.htm
 

 

Electrical Engineering

5. Optical Communication Using Solitons on A Photonic Chip

These are optical micro resonators made from silicon nitride on a chip using for soliton based communications.

Optical solitons are special wave packages that propagate without changing their shape. They are ubiquitous in nature, and occur in Plasma Physics, water waves to biological systems. While solitons also exist in optical fibre, their technological use so far has been limited. While researchers studied their use for optical communication, eventually the approach was abandoned. Now, a collaboration of a research group at KIT’s Institute of Photonics and Quantum Electronics (IPQ) and Institute of Microstructure Technology (IMT) with EPFL’s Laboratory of Photonics and Quantum Measurements (LPQM) have shown that solitons may experience a comeback: Instead of using a train of soliton pulses in an optical fibre, they generated continuously circulating optical solitons in compact silicon nitride optical microresonators. These continuously circulating solitons lead to broadband optical frequency combs. Two such superimposed frequency combs enabled massive parallel data transmission on 179 wavelength channels at a data rate of more than 50 terabits per second — a record for frequency combs. Optical frequency combsconsist of a multitude of neighbouring spectral lines, which are aligned on a regular equidistant grid. Traditionally, frequency combs serve as high-precision optical references for measurement of frequencies. The invention of so-called Kerr frequency combs, which are characterized by large optical bandwidths and by line spacings that are optimal for communications, make frequency combs equally well suited for data transmission. Each individual spectral line can be used for transmitting a data signal.In their experiment, the researchers from KIT and EPFL used optical silicon nitride micro-resonators on a photonic chip that can easily be integrated into compact communication systems. For the communications demonstration, two interleaved frequency combs were used to transmit data on 179 individual optical carriers, which completely cover the optical telecommunication C and L bands and allow a transmission of data rate of 55 terabits per second over a distance of 75 kilometers. “This is equivalent to more than five billion phone calls or more than two million HD TV channels. It is the highest data rate ever reached using a frequency comb source in chip format,” explains Christian Koos, professor at KIT’s IPQ and IMT and recipient of a Starting Independent Researcher Grant of the European Research Council (ERC) for his research on optical frequency combs.The components have the potential to reduce the energy consumption of the light source in communication systems drastically. The basis of the researchers’ work are solitons generated in low-loss optical silicon nitride micro-resonators. In these, an optical soliton state was generated for the first time by Kippenberg’s lab at EPFL in 2014. “The soliton forms through nonlinear processes occurring due to the high intensity of the light field in the micro-resonator” explains Kippenberg. The microresonator is only pumped through a continuous-wave laser from which, by means of the soliton, hundreds of new equidistant laser lines are generated. The silicon nitride integrated photonic chips are grown and fabricated in the Center for MicroNanotechnology (CMi) at EPFL. Meanwhile, a startup from LPQM, LiGenTec SA, is also offering access to these photonic integrated circuits to interested academic and industrial research laboratories.The work shows that microresonator soliton frequency comb sources can considerably increase the performance of wavelength division multiplexing (WDM) techniques in optical communications. WDM allows to transmit ultra-high data rates by using a multitude of independent data channels on a single optical waveguide. To this end, the information is encoded on laser light of different wavelengths. For coherent communications, microresonator soliton frequency comb sources can be used not only at the transmitter, but also at the receiver side of WDM systems. The comb sources dramatically increase scalability of the respective systems and enable highly parallel coherent data transmission with light. According to researchers, this is an important step towards highly efficient chip-scale transceivers for future petabit networks.



Source : https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/06/170608123612.htm
 

 

Electronics and Communication Engineering

6. Graphene and quantum dots put in motion a CMOS-integrated camera that can see the invisible

Graphene-quantum dots-CMOS-based sensor for ultraviolet, visible and infrared.

Over the past 40 years, microelectronics has advanced by leaps and bounds thanks to silicon and CMOS (Complementary metal-oxide semiconductors) technology, making possible computing, smartphones, compact and low-cost digital cameras, as well as most of the electronic gadgets we rely on today.However, the diversification of this platform into applications other than microcircuits and visible light cameras has been impeded by the difficulty to combine semiconductors other than silicon with CMOS.This obstacle has now been overcome. ICFO researchers have shown for the first time the monolithic integration of a CMOS integrated circuit with graphene, resulting in a high-resolution image sensor consisting of hundreds of thousands of photodetectors based on graphene and quantum dots (QD). They operated it as a digital camera that is highly sensitive to UV, visible and infrared light at the same time. This has never been achieved before with existing imaging sensors. In general, this demonstration of monolithic integration of graphene with CMOS enables a wide range of optoelectronic applications, such as low-power optical data communications and compact and ultra sensitive sensing systems.The graphene-QD image sensor was fabricated by taking PbS colloidal quantum dots, depositing them onto the CVD graphene and subsequently depositing this hybrid system onto a CMOS wafer with image sensor dies and a read-out circuit. As a researcher comments, “No complex material processing or growth processes were required to achieve this graphene-quantum dot CMOS image sensor. It proved easy and cheap to fabricate at room temperature and under ambient conditions, which signifies a considerable decrease in production costs. Even more, because of its properties, it can be easily integrated on flexible substrates as well as CMOS-type integrated circuits.”As an expert in quantum dot-graphene research comments, “we engineered the QDs to extend to the short infrared range of the spectrum (1100-1900nm), to a point where we were able to demonstrate and detect the night glow of the atmosphere on a dark and clear sky enabling passive night vision. This work shows that this class of phototransistors may be the way to go for high sensitivity, low-cost, infrared image sensors operating at room temperature addressing the huge infrared market that is currently thirsty for cheap technologies.””The development of this monolithic CMOS-based image sensor represents a milestone for low-cost, high-resolution broadband and hyperspectral imaging systems” a lead researcher highlights. He assures that “in general, graphene-CMOS technology will enable a vast amount of applications, that range from safety, security, low cost pocket and smartphone cameras, fire control systems, passive night vision and night surveillance cameras, automotive sensor systems, medical imaging applications, food and pharmaceutical inspection to environmental monitoring, to name a few.”This project is currently incubating in ICFO’s Launchpad. The team is working with the institute’s tech transfer professionals to bring this breakthrough along with its full patent portfolio of imaging and sensing technologies to the market.



Source: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/05/170529142108.htm
 

 

Aerospace Engineering

7. ISRO launches India’s heaviest rocket: GSLV Mark-III

Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) launched the country’s heaviest rocket – Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle-Mark III (GSLV-Mk III) – along with a communications satellite GSAT-19 on June 5, 2017. A successful launch of this rocket is yet another major step towards being self-reliant in the country’s space programme.Here is all you want to know about the rocket described as a “game-changer” in the first of its kind space mission.

  • It will also enable ISRO to launch from India heavier communications spacecraft to geostationary orbits of 36,000 km. Because of the absence of a powerful launcher, ISRO currently launches satellites above 2 tonnes on European rockets for a big fee.
  • The GSAT-19, with a lifespan of 10 years, is a multi-beam satellite that will carry Ka and Ku-band payload along with a Geostationary Radiation Spectrometer (GRASP) payload to monitor and study the nature of the charged particles and influence of space radiation on spacecraft and electronic components.
  • The rocket, weighing 640 tonnes and standing 43.43 metres tall, blasted off from the second launch pad at India’s rocket port at Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh at 5:28pm. It carried a 3,136-kg GSAT-19 communications satellite – the heaviest to be lifted by an Indian rocket till date – to an altitude of around 179km above the Earth after just over 16 minutes into the flight.
  • The rocket’s main and bigger cryogenic engine has been developed by space scientists indigenously. It will help India get a greater share of the multi-billion dollar global space market and reduce dependency on international launching vehicles.
  • It would also employ advanced spacecraft technologies including bus subsystem experiments in the electrical propulsion system, indigenous Li-ion battery and indigenous bus bars for power distribution, among others.
  • ISRO had flown a similar rocket without the cryogenic engine but with 3.7-tonne payload in 2014 mainly to test its structural stability while in flight and the aerodynamics. The inputs of the 2014 mission enabled the ISRO to reduce the rocket load by around 20%.
  • GSLV-Mk III, at around 43 metres, is slightly shorter than Mk-II version that is around 49 metres tall. “The new rocket may be slightly short but has more punch power,” an ISRO said.
  • India presently has two rockets — the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle and GSLV-Mk II — with a lift-off mass of 415 tonnes and a carrying capacity of 2.5 tonnes.
  • Earlier in May, India successfully launched the South Asia Satellite, intended to serve “economic and developmental priorities” of South Asian nations, using its heavy rocket Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV-F09).
  • India has two rockets – the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle and GSLV-Mk II – with a lift-off mass of 415 tonnes and a carrying capacity of 2.5 tonnes.


Source : http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/isro-to-launch-gslv-mark-iii-10-things-to-know-about-india-s-heaviest-rocket/story-eDxcTnc3Np2RaN8t94a7iK.html
 

 

Mining, Metallurgical and Materials Engineering

 

8.  New-Generation Material Removes Iodine from Water: Advancement Could Dramatically Improve Nuclear Cleanup

Iodine is removed from an aqueous solution after the addition of HCOF-1.

Researchers at Dartmouth College have developed a new material that scrubs iodine from water for the first time. The breakthrough could hold the key to cleaning radioactive waste in nuclear reactors and after nuclear accidents like the 2011 Fukushima disaster.The new-generation microporous material designed at Dartmouth is the result of chemically stitching small organic molecules to form a framework that scrubs the isotope from water.”There is simply no cost-effective way of removing radioactive iodine from water, but current methods of letting the ocean or rivers dilute the dangerous contaminant are just too risky,” said a researcher in the Department of Chemistry at Dartmouth College. “We are not sure how efficient this process will be, but this is definitely the first step toward knowing its true potential.”Radioactive iodine is a common byproduct of nuclear fission and is a pollutant in nuclear disasters including the recent meltdown in Japan and the 1986 Chernobyl disaster. While removing iodine in the gas phase is relatively common, iodine has never been removed from water prior to the Dartmouth research.”We have solved the stubborn scientific problem of making a porous material with high crystallinity that is also chemically stable in strong acidic or basic water,” said the principle investigator for the research. “In the process of developing a material that combats environmental pollution, we also created a method that paves the way for a new class of porous organic materials.”The research, describes how researchers used sunlight to crosslink small molecules in large crystals to produce the new material. The approach is different from the traditional method of combining molecules in one pot.During the research, concentrations of iodine were reduced from 288 ppm to 18 ppm within 30 minutes, and below 1 ppm after 24 hours. The soft stitching technique resulted in a breathable material that changed shape and adsorbed more than double its weight of iodine. The compound was also found to be elastic, making it reusable and potentially even more valuable for environmental cleanup.According to the researchers, the compound could be used in a manner similar to applying salt to contaminated water. Since it is lighter than water, the material floats to adsorb iodine and then sinks as it becomes heavier. After taking on the iodine, the compound can be collected, cleaned and reused while the radioactive elements are sent for storage.The lab research used non-radioactive iodine in salted water for the experiment, but researchers say that it will also work in real-world conditions. The scientists hope that through continued testing the material will prove to be effective against cesium and other radioactive contaminants associated with nuclear plants.”It would be ideal to scrub more radioactive species other than iodine — you would want to scrub all of the radioactive material in one go,” they said. Researchers at Dartmouth’s Functional Materials Group are also hopeful that the technique can be used to create materials to target other types of inorganic and organic pollutants, particularly antibiotics in water supplies that can lead to the creation of super-resistant microorganisms.



Source : https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/06/170607123756.htm
 

 

Energy Engineering 

9. Ultra-Stable Perovskite Solar Cell Remains Stable for More Than a Year

This is a schematic representation of the findings of this study.

Perovskite solar cells promise cheaper and efficient solar energy, with enormous potential for commercialization. But even though they have been shown to achieve over 22% power-conversion efficiency, their operational stability still fails market requirements. Despite a number of proposed solutions in fabrication technology, this issue has continued to undercut whatever incremental increases in efficiency have been achieved. EPFL scientists have now built a low-cost, ultra-stable perovskite solar cell that has operated for more than a year without loss in performance (11.2%). The lab at EPFL in collaboration with Michael Grätzel and Solaronix company has engineered what is known as 2D/3D hybrid perovskite solar cell. This combines the enhanced stability of 2D perovskites with 3D forms, which efficiently absorb light across the entire visible spectrum and transport electrical charges. In this way, the scientists were able to fabricate of efficient and ultra-stable solar cells, which is a crucial step for upscaling to a commercial level. The 2D/3D perovskite yields efficiencies of 12.9% (carbon-based architecture), and 14.6% (standard mesoporous solar cells).The scientists built 10×10 cm2 solar panels using a fully printable industrial-scale process. The resulting solar cells have now delivered a constant 11.2% efficiency for more than 10,000 hours, while showing zero loss in performance as measured under standard conditions.The breakthrough resolves the problem of perovskite solar-cell stability, and can viably move the technology into the commercial sphere.

 



Source : https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/06/170601082234.htm
 

 

Interdisciplinary Engineering and Special Fields

10. Battery-Less Pacemaker: Researchers Test Microwave-Powered Device

The internal components of a battery-less pacemaker introduced this week by Rice University and the Texas Heart Institute. The pacemaker can be inserted into the heart and powered by a battery pack outside the body, eliminating the need for wire leads and surgeries to occasionally replace the battery.

A wireless, battery-less pacemaker that can be implanted directly into a patient’s heart is being introduced by researchers from Rice University and their colleagues at the Texas Heart Institute (THI).The pacemaker designed by the Rice lab of electrical and computer engineering professor Aydin Babakhani harvests energy wirelessly from radio frequency radiation transmitted by an external battery pack. In the prototype presented at IMS, the wireless power transmitter can be up to few centimeters away.Pacemakers use electrical signals to prompt the heart to keep a steady beat, but they’ve traditionally not been implanted directly into a patient’s heart. Instead, they’re located away from the heart, where surgeons can periodically replace their onboard batteries with minor surgery; their electrical signals are transmitted to the heart via wires called “leads.”Some of the common problems with this arrangement are complications related to the leads, including bleeding and infection. Babakhani said Rice’s prototype wireless pacemaker reduces these risks by doing away with leads. He said other recently introduced lead-less pacemakers also mitigate some of these complications, but their form factors limit them to a single heart chamber and they are unable to provide dual-chamber or biventricular pacing. In contrast, battery-less, lead-less and wirelessly powered microchips can be implanted directly to pace multiple points inside or outside the heart, Babakhani said.”This technology brings into sharp focus the remarkable possibility of achieving the ‘Triple Crown’ of treatment of both the most common and most lethal cardiac arrhythmias: external powering, wireless pacing and — far and away most importantly — cardiac defibrillation that is not only painless but is actually imperceptible to the patient,” said Dr. Mehdi Razavi, director of clinical arrhythmia research and innovation at THI and an assistant professor at Baylor College of Medicine, who collaborated with Babakhani on development and testing of the new pacemaker.The chip at the system’s heart is less than 4 millimeters wide and incorporates the receiving antenna, an AC-to-DC rectifier, a power management unit and a pacing activation signal. A capacitor and switch join the chip on a circuit board that is smaller than a dime. The chip receives power using microwaves microwaves in the 8 to 10 gigahertz electromagnetic frequency spectrum.The frequency of the pacing signals produced by the pacemaker can be adjusted by increasing or decreasing power transmitted to the receiving antenna, which stores it until it reaches a predetermined threshold. At that point, it releases the electrical charge to the heart and begins to fill again.The team successfully tested the device in a pig and demonstrated it could tune the animal’s heart rate from 100 to 172 beats per minute.Babakhani said the invention has prompted new collaborations among the Texas Medical Center institutions as well as the University of California at San Diego. The team is further developing its technology.



Source : https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/06/170605151938.htm

 
Close
The Forms Will Be Available Shortly.