This season’s UBThisSummer lecture series concluded Wednesday with a special treat: a talk by renowned inventor Esther Takeuchi on the evolution of battery technology for implantable medical devices.
Takeuchi, a SUNY Distinguished Professor in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, began her talk on medical batteries by showing the audience of about 100 people an old, black-and-white photograph of a man pushing a bulky, external pacemaker on a cart.
“What is the size of their world?” Takeuchi asked, before answering her own question: “The size of their world is determined by the length of the extension cord.”
Today, pacemakers—which monitor patients’ heart rates and emit an electrical signal reminding the heart to beat when rates are low—are one of many implantable medical technologies that translate into freedom for patients. Others include ventricular assist devices, which pump blood in place of the heart; programmable pumps that release drugs at appropriate time intervals; and neurostimulators that hold promise for treating a wide variety of disorders, including chronic pain, epilepsy and even psychiatric disorders.