This is a shared blog post which originates from our partner’s (Cirtec Medical Systems) blog. To read the full version from the original source, click here.
by: Bill Peatman, Cirtec Medical Systems
Implantable medical devices keep getting smaller and smarter. Consider one of the first of these to be broadly available: the cardiac pacemaker. First commercially developed in the 1960’s, the pacemaker featured a battery that powered electronics connected to heart tissue to regulate the patient’s heartbeat. The first pacemakers were about the size of the palm of adult’s hand. Today, a pacemaker measures 3-4 centimeters, and some device makers claim to be developing pacemakers as small as a vitamin capsule.
Today, even smaller implantable medical devices are being developed for more advanced therapies—devices small enough to be swallowed in the form of pills that can sense, report and treat specific conditions as they pass through the digestive system; hearing aids that are barely visible; implantable drug delivery systems that make medicines more effective; and implantable stimulators that can both sense and control specific Neurological signals to treat everything from obesity to strokes.
This drive to smaller implantable medicaldevices has led to the development a new category of products—Miniature Implantable Medical Devices (MIMDs). One of the technologies enabling MIMDs is the advent of smaller, smarter Application Specific Integrated Circuits (ASICs). New ASICs can be designed to perform very specific (hence the name) functions, which reduces both the size of the circuits and the power required to run them. While the benefits of a smaller footprint for MIMDs may be obvious, the power reduction is important too. Because smarter ASICs use just the energy needed for a specific task, no energy is wasted on unnecessary functions. Smaller, smarter ASICs can run on smaller batteries, further enabling device size reduction. New ASICs can enable smaller, smarter implantable medical devices.
How small is small with MIMDs? Traditional implantable medical devices range in size from 15 to 50 cubic centimeters (cc), according to James McDonald, CEO at leading medical device ASIC designer Cactus Semiconductor. Read more.