What’s Next for WiPo? Energizing Implantable Medical Devices
The next chapter in the exciting wireless power (WiPo) revolution appears ready to play out – this time eyeing the critically important implantable medical devices and components industry. This multimillion niche market promises to supercharge the rollout of this technology across the practice of medicine as we know it.
This week, Massachusetts-based WiTricity (a company that has pioneered the transfer of electricity over long distances) and Texas-based Greatbatch (a global developer and manufacturer of medical equipment) announced that they have extended an existing agreement aimed at developing a new wave of implantable medical devices with increased flexibility, better performance and higher levels of power transferability.
Under the terms of this expanded licensing and collaboration agreement, Greatbatch will license WiTricity’s intellectual property for the purpose of commercializing efficient, high-performance wireless charging and power system solutions across a wide range of medical devices, including active implantable and interventional applications.
So what does this mean for companies that play in this wireless pond? Unlike the consumer electronics and automotive industries, where WiPo energy is reaching an inflection point, the healthcare industry continues to struggle with cords and power transfer limitations.
With more than 51 million surgeries occurring annually, just in the United States, operating rooms are frequently challenged by the tangle of electrical cords that can hamper efficiency. Considering that more than 150 million people worldwide are candidates for power-centric neurostimulation implants, the companies believe that there is a significant opportunity to untether the healthcare industry for physicians and their patients, enabling therapy delivery with fewer limitations.
WiTricity and Greatbatch originally announced plans to design and develop advanced wireless power transfer solutions in August 2015. Harnessing wireless power transfer has the potential to ease sterilization, reduce procedure time and maintenance and increase reliability for these critical tools. With the ease and increased charging opportunities provided by wireless charging, battery size may be reduced, decreasing weight and offering a more ergonomic experience for users, the companies claim.
“Medical devices and systems are primed for a revolution, and wireless power transfer will allow designers to develop smaller, safer, easier to use, and more reliable solutions for physicians and patients,” said Declan Smyth, president of Advanced Surgical, Orthopedics and Power Solutions at Greatbatch. “Our continued efforts with WiTricity will expand our innovation in wireless power transfer for the medical device industry, and we’re looking forward to leading the way in this important market segment.”
Rest assured that as additional WiPo dominos continue to fall, we are monitoring developments in this fast-changing technology and are positioned to jump into those companies with the best profit potential when the time is right.
Onward and upward,
P.S. In other technology-related news, our Technology Profits Confidential Editor Ray Blanco continues to study how you can invest in Virtual Reality technology. You can check out his research one of two ways — the awe-and-wonder version here and the NSFW (not safe for work) version here.