edible-battery-ingestible-devices-2Christopher Bettinger and his research team at Carnegie Mellon University have recently created a device that the way we diagnose or treat diseases in the future. The device is merely a battery, but what makes it special is the fact it can be safely ingested by a patient, to power or control internal medical devices.

Internal scanning and drug administering devices are becoming more common as innovative technology is created, allowing us to get precise readings of internals or treat issues right at the source. Though helpful, these devices will often only operate for a short period of time before they run out of power. Currently there are few power sources small enough to be swallowed, and safe enough to remain in the human body without harmful side effects.

The battery is built from a pigment called melanin, paired with other biocompatible materials including manganese oxide, copper, and iron. Due to the key ingredient being melanin, the patient is in no danger when digesting the battery since the same pigment can be found in squid ink pasta.

A 3D printed gelatin shell houses the battery, allowing it to be easily swallowed and dissolved after it completes its job. Once the battery reaches the ions found in the stomach, a current flow begins in the device which can be used as the trigger for drug-delivery into the body.

The battery is able to power a 10 miliWatt device for up to 20 hours at a time, which is a large improvement over previous devices. This time frame would allow for easy drug administering or powering in internal devices which are used to monitor information such as blood-sugar levels in diabetics.

Medical prototype systems similar to the edible battery require utmost quality when being constructed to ensure no patients will be harmed when using it. Whether you require a micro-component sort and assembly, or a custom integrated cell for prototype systems, Eclipse offers a wide range of solutions for the health sciences industry, optimizing operations to provide you with end products advanced in both quality and safety.

Source: Quartz