Smaller, Smarter and Effective
Miniaturising growth is the way we work at Valtronic. The size, weight and volume are considered when developing and manufacturing active implants and other medical devices.
When it comes to making implantable medical devices, size begins to get smaller and smarter, bringing challenges to advanced circuitry and encapsulation.
Both titanium and titanium alloys have been the materials of choice for cardiac pacemakers and defibrillators. However, glass encapsulation is providing smaller active implants the ability to be used throughout the body.
These include neurostimulators for the treatment of epilepsy, implantable drug pumps, cochlear implants and physiological sensors.
The cold sealing process of glass encapsulation is why encapsulation can be used in smaller implants.
Sealing titanium implants against moisture requires a high-temperature laser welding technique, so active implants must be substantially larger or they would otherwise minimise the risk of damaging circuitry during the welding process.
That is not the circumstance with cold welding used in glass encapsulation. This procedure does not require high temperatures for sealing, enabling smaller, less invasive implants.
Glass encapsulation also offers effective transmission of radio frequency (RF) signals used to send bio data to an external reader or for recharging of an onboard battery.
The reason for its effectiveness is that glass encapsulation is largely transparent to radio signals allowing for smaller antennas, less power and smaller implants.
Smart implants have researches continuously looking for ways to extend the life of an implant’s power supply. In many cases such as the pacemaker, its average lifespan is 15 years and has to be surgically replaced.
The next generation of implants aims to find ways of remotely recharging from outside the body with an external RF link.
Other options include working from various body energy-harvesting techniques, taking from the heartbeat or blood flow, body temperature for converting electrical energy and more.