Hello, a not so little post of thoughts on piezoelectricity.

Ok so I came across an interesting article the other day about creating electricity from the body with piezoelectricity and had a few questions for you guys. It was talking about a heart doctor wanting to implant one that could power a pacemaker 10x over, now I understand heart surgery maybe out of our realm of possibility for a few more months but....The way I am understanding everything in the biohacking community is the thing that is holding us back the most is the fact that battery technology is like 10 years behind what it should be.

So I was thinking perhaps we are going about things the wrong way? Maybe instead of trying to charge a battery through wireless charging which seems to be the community favorite wouldn't it be equally beneficial to harness power from the body directly? In the article it was said that one, one hundredth of an inch thick, could power a pacemaker 10x over, I understand that they don't take a lot of energy but surely we could scale up the results?

Unfortiantly I don't know the amount of mechanical resistance one of these takes to create the electricity and I was hoping for some feedback from you guys... they are a ceramic which isn't ideal but I think depending on implantation location that these or something similar could work quite well. Instead of trying to have an implant hold a charge for 3-6 hours so we can always have it charged we could have something with a battery for 30 seconds that always charges off of our body. Where to implant it would of course depend on how hard it has to be compressed but I think theres a few places in the body that tighten adequately just from breathing and are lower risk which could mean 24/7 implant!

Link to article:

Sorry for the block of text and I hope its legible had to wait a few days to be approved so I could post this. :)


  • Power sources have been discussed in depth here:

    to give you a quick idea. a pacemaker requires about 10μA at 2.8V to operate. So the 10x overproduction would mean you get about 100μA out of the piezo generator. the implant modules i currently have in planning gears toward 400μA. so it is certainly within the range of possibilities.

    the reason why no one is seriously thinking about using those generators is very simple. no one got hands on one yet. wireless charging is something that can be easily done with the parts we have available. if you can find a source where we can buy those generators from i'd love to try them out (given they aren't too expensive)
  • edited September 2013
    Well as far as aquiring them I know this place makes them all different sizes and pretty customizable.

    I also know you can get them else where for pretty cheap but not sure on voltage and these would more then likely not be medically safe.

    Thanks for the thread dig up that was before my time of even lurking and I only went so far back. It seems the low return and the fact it has to be in a location that moves were the big concerns, I believe there has been some progress as far as the low return goes, and I think there may be a few areas where we could do an implant where it could work and not cause issues. I was thinking side of chest or something along that lines but I'm no anatomy expert and I think it'd be beneficial to fall back on the knowledge of someone with more experience in that field such as @cassox. Unfortunately I live on very limited means so I don't even have an idea for an implant much less the funds to make one, currently waiting for this next tax season to get my magnet done after a year of debating with myself lol. So all I have are dumb questions in the hopes of sparking an interesting thought.

    I just see the battle of batterys being the biggest issue at this point we really can't get anything that relies on electricity and does anything besides the most basic of things implanted that won't run out of charge in a day. At least the way I understand it feel free to correct me if I'm wrong It just seems like a hurdle that is in our way that we should try to figure out... I mean the newest thing in batterys was invented like last year by a 14 year old that was sick of sitting next to her phone charger... that's just sad.
  • edited September 2013
    the links you provided are covering piezos in general (that's easy to get indeed). but it's hard to get actual generators that are suited for powering an implant. most generators target industrial applications where power is harvested from vibrations. those usually work with higher frequencies and higher forces than what's available within the body.

    the hurdle we have to overcome is providing a power supply for an implant. doesn't matter how you do that in the end. i go with the inductive charging and regular batteries. unlike experimental generators those are easy to build from off the shelf parts and known to work. and at least for my implant system, i project about 7 to 14 days of operation on a single charge. which is a lot better than the what we have (nothing).
  • edited September 2013
    Sorry like I said some of this is beyond me, the second link is for generators and the company even does custom ones... It's more then likely out of a reasonable price range but it might be worth checking with them what materials they use and if they would be willing to make one if someone had the specifications they needed down. Like I said due to the fact I'm not building one I'm frankly not sure what kind of "specs" one is looking for. Unless someone has a chem lab in their basement and wants to make some ZnO nanowire in there, honestly think we should be able to find a company that is willing to make these bulk at a decent price. Seems like an obvious choice for a company to come out with something like this it seems that it could be a very lucrative business... (yes I am way over simplifying  some things but baby steps first lol)

    On a side note we could always stick a wind turbine up someones nose and run wires, just a thought.
  • it's quite the opposite of lucrative business. we only need about 10 of those things and the development of such a highly customized generator may costs well above 10k USD, if not a multiple of that.

    as it was already discussed on the other thread. it is an interesting technology, but it's simply does not qualify (yet) because it is not easily available and affordable enough.
  • Hello Dashi. Welcome to Biohack.me. Can you please edit the title of your thread to summarize the topic you are discussing?
  • @ThomasEgi, I had an interesting though for southpaw. Depending on the orientation of the implated coil, would it be feasible to make shoes with piezos, a coil, and power management in the sole? On the go trickle charge, thought of it while comtemplating accelerometers & enhance vibration senses (will probably contact you soon for input).
  • @Sall putting it in a shoe is certainly possible. but that's no longer part of the actual implant so it's not really my main concern.
  • @Dashi got me thinking about turbines, and I came with an interesting idea. First I toyed with the idea that perhaps one could reroute an artery through a microturbine, but that could cause fouling issues. Then, I thought, why not use the pulsating nature of the circulatory system to trigger a piezo-based generation system. Fewer moving parts, so probably fewer fouling problems. 

    Also, @ThomasEgi , would it be possible to use the diamagnetic/paramagnetic properties of hemaglobin in the blood to create a blood-based generator system that utilized induction or a similar process to produce power?
  • edited September 2013
  • paywalled link tho.

    @TheGreyKnight. given the pulse pressure in rest is about 40mmHg or about 5300Pa, and some sort of "soft-piezo-clamp" around the blood vessel which is like 2cm long, and 5mm wide and moves about half a mm up/down on each pulse. that'd give about 250μJ per pulse energy to harvest. add losses from the generator itself and you may get something between 50 and 100μW. not horribly much, it seems to be in a usable range. a bigger blood vessel may be able to provide just enough energy to make things tick.

    as for diamagnetic/paramagnetic properties. i don't see way to utilize those.
  • blarg, i always forget about that. paper has been uploaded to library for anyone who is interested.

    title is: 

    1.6 V Nanogenerator for Mechanical Energy Harvesting Using PZT Nanofibers

  • edited October 2013
    Sorry for the long absence I am currently tethered through my phone so it's rather a pain to get on. Anyways back tot he conversation at hand.

    @ThomasEgi I think you misunderstood what I meant, I was think more in the broad application sector, while the current projects may only need 10 if this turns out to be a possible tech then it could be used in the design of more implants ect. As far as it being in the 10k+ range that is always possible but I think we may be pleasantly surprised if we are not stuck on a strict line of contingencys, what I mean is if we say this is the minimum power we need this is as big as we need. I could always be wrong, it wouldn't be the first time but It's always worth looking into even failed projects sometimes lead to new lines of thoughts and new inventions! I do have some application questions for you if you wouldn't mind answering I would be willing to shoot these people an email for all we know they already make something that ethier fits the guidelines we need or is close. My first question would be would we be ideally looking at a multilayer (lower voltage higher current) or single layer (higher voltage lower current) it's a stupid question im sure but it's been a while since I've had any classes with electronics and most my work is fixing stuff not making it. If I'm reading this correct a single layer piezo is a lot easier to trigger which almost instantly confirms we would need a multilayer haha.... Also what is the max size you would be looking at and what kind of range of power would you need/be comfortable from it?  Worse case scenario they laugh at me and say that it's not possible for them to do but in the off chance they would it'd be good to know... Low probability shouldn't stop us from a no risk, high gain situation.

    @Glims thanks for that one of the articles I had read was talking about that.
  • Ok so slight shift but something this got me thinking about.. rather than as a means of power a device... an interface like a magnet implant.

    So, we have layered magnet/crystal/magnet, coated along with two conductive point/extensions what have you. If a magnetic field were applied the piezo in the middle would inevitably be squeezed. Would this generate adequate signal to stimulate local nerves? Just a meandering.
  • It would certainly squeeze the piezo and generate a voltage spike. But it's far from "adequate" as it can reach several hundred volts. Compared to induction you have the advantage of getting a very high voltage. Although the overall energy amount is low, it should be possible to build an analog circuit that creates a one-shot impulse for each time the piezo gets squeezed. Still hard to control the timing, and currents.
  • Wow, so it overshoot the power need? Ok, how much deformation of the crystals is needed? For example, if you coated all three layers in a single biosafe metal, it would seriously minimize how much pressure was applied to the crystal layer. Or alternatively, one could make one of the magnets a kind of cup, crystal, ball... something along those lines. Also, rather than trying to regulate current/voltage, what could a burst like that be used for directly?
  • edited May 2014
    could be used as a input system (like a button or keyboard style input) but yet again that would be more easily managed via wireless interfacing.
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