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Novel Wireless Tech Allows Implants To Communicate Using Ions In Tissues

Jun, 2022

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Scientists developed a novel technique that writes data to ions present in human tissue where the data can be read through a receiver outside the body with high transmission speeds

Many of the researchers have developed bioelectronics for assisting or monitoring the brain, heart and other vital organs. However, these devices lack reliable and safe transmission of their data to doctors. Now a team of researchers at Columbia University developed a novel technique to enhance implantable bioelectronics with simple, low-power, high-speed wireless links of data using ions present in human tissue. With this new technique the data written in ions can be read from a receiver outside of the body with high transmission speeds.

In this new study, the scientists developed a technique using which data can be transmitted wirelessly from the body to an outside receiver device using the communication method of the body, where cells exchange ions for communicating with each other. The team explored the electrical energy that is stored in tissues. This new method involves implantation of a electrode pair inside tissues with which data can be encoded from a device with interchanging electric pulses and then storing this energy in the ions present in the tissues. Further placing another electrodes’ pair on the tissues surface or on the skin for receiving the stored energy and decoding the data.

With this technique, the team was able to transmit data through tissue as deep as 3.9 in (10cm) with faster transmission speed compared to other techniques, where the team recorded speed rates up to 60 MHz with additional room for optimization. When tested in rats, these devices transmitted data to receivers that were placed externally and precisely picked up signals from separate neurons. According to the team, this ionic communication needs lower power and voltage compared to other wireless devices.   

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