Saturday, August 18, 2007
Power the body electric
Looks like we're moving closer to thermo-biogenerators. Engadget has a little snippet on work at the Fraunhoffer Institute, where they apparently are making progress in harnessing the body's heat to generate electricity. (actually from January, but still worth mentioning.)
One thing to note - remember that very small changes in temperature over a small area of the brain for a prolonged time can be catastrophic. So, much of the work on implantable electronics for use in neural integration is looking at ways of using the least amount of power possible (thus generating the least amount of heat). Of course, there are ways of dispersing the heat locally and by separating components, but that adds bulk, immunoreactive surfaces, and complexity (though makes 'upgrading' easier - new power transducer can be added under local anesthesia). My point is that if BCI researchers are trying to optimized for power and heat as a primary focus, and power/physics researchers are working on providing the largest amount of power, the two are likely to meet at a nice, common ground once they are more widely applicable.