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Concept: Wireless energy transfer


Google Glass is a recently designed wearable device capable of displaying information in a smartphone-like hands-free format by wireless communication. The Glass also provides convenient control over remote devices, primarily enabled by voice recognition commands. These unique features of the Google Glass make it useful for medical and biomedical applications where hands-free experiences are strongly preferred. Here, we report for the first time, an integral set of hardware, firmware, software, and Glassware that enabled wireless transmission of sensor data onto the Google Glass for on-demand data visualization and real-time analysis. Additionally, the platform allowed the user to control outputs entered through the Glass, therefore achieving bi-directional Glass-device interfacing. Using this versatile platform, we demonstrated its capability in monitoring physical and physiological parameters such as temperature, pH, and morphology of liver- and heart-on-chips. Furthermore, we showed the capability to remotely introduce pharmaceutical compounds into a microfluidic human primary liver bioreactor at desired time points while monitoring their effects through the Glass. We believe that such an innovative platform, along with its concept, has set up a premise in wearable monitoring and controlling technology for a wide variety of applications in biomedicine.

Concepts: Device, Control, Bluetooth, Remote control, Wireless, Keyboard, Wireless energy transfer


Recent advances in wearable electronics combined with wireless communications are essential to the realization of medical applications through health monitoring technologies. For example, a smart contact lens, which is capable of monitoring the physiological information of the eye and tear fluid, could provide real-time, noninvasive medical diagnostics. However, previous reports concerning the smart contact lens have indicated that opaque and brittle components have been used to enable the operation of the electronic device, and this could block the user’s vision and potentially damage the eye. In addition, the use of expensive and bulky equipment to measure signals from the contact lens sensors could interfere with the user’s external activities. Thus, we report an unconventional approach for the fabrication of a soft, smart contact lens in which glucose sensors, wireless power transfer circuits, and display pixels to visualize sensing signals in real time are fully integrated using transparent and stretchable nanostructures. The integration of this display into the smart lens eliminates the need for additional, bulky measurement equipment. This soft, smart contact lens can be transparent, providing a clear view by matching the refractive indices of its locally patterned areas. The resulting soft, smart contact lens provides real-time, wireless operation, and there are in vivo tests to monitor the glucose concentration in tears (suitable for determining the fasting glucose level in the tears of diabetic patients) and, simultaneously, to provide sensing results through the contact lens display.

Concepts: Eye, Cornea, Myopia, Lens, Contact lens, Corrective lens, Tears, Wireless energy transfer


Wireless power delivery has the potential to seamlessly power our electrical devices as easily as data is transmitted through the air. However, existing solutions are limited to near contact distances and do not provide the geometric freedom to enable automatic and un-aided charging. We introduce quasistatic cavity resonance (QSCR), which can enable purpose-built structures, such as cabinets, rooms, and warehouses, to generate quasistatic magnetic fields that safely deliver kilowatts of power to mobile receivers contained nearly anywhere within. A theoretical model of a quasistatic cavity resonator is derived, and field distributions along with power transfer efficiency are validated against measured results. An experimental demonstration shows that a 54 m3 QSCR room can deliver power to small coil receivers in nearly any position with 40% to 95% efficiency. Finally, a detailed safety analysis shows that up to 1900 watts can be transmitted to a coil receiver enabling safe and ubiquitous wireless power.

Concepts: Magnetic field, Energy, Resonator, Radio, Power, Nikola Tesla, Watt, Wireless energy transfer


An important trend in electronics involves the development of materials, mechanical designs and manufacturing strategies that enable the use of unconventional substrates, such as polymer films, metal foils, paper sheets or rubber slabs. The last possibility is particularly challenging because the systems must accommodate not only bending but also stretching. Although several approaches are available for the electronics, a persistent difficulty is in power supplies that have similar mechanical properties, to allow their co-integration with the electronics. Here we introduce a set of materials and design concepts for a rechargeable lithium ion battery technology that exploits thin, low modulus silicone elastomers as substrates, with a segmented design in the active materials, and unusual ‘self-similar’ interconnect structures between them. The result enables reversible levels of stretchability up to 300%, while maintaining capacity densities of ~1.1 mAh cm(-2). Stretchable wireless power transmission systems provide the means to charge these types of batteries, without direct physical contact.

Concepts: Polymer, Battery, Rechargeable battery, Lithium-ion battery, Lithium, Nickel-cadmium battery, Electric power transmission, Wireless energy transfer


Considerable progress in wireless power transfer has been made in the realm of non-radiative transfer, which employs magnetic-field coupling in the near field. A combination of circuit resonance and impedance transformation is often used to help to achieve efficient transfer of power over a predetermined distance of about the size of the resonators. The development of non-radiative wireless power transfer has paved the way towards real-world applications such as wireless powering of implantable medical devices and wireless charging of stationary electric vehicles. However, it remains a fundamental challenge to create a wireless power transfer system in which the transfer efficiency is robust against the variation of operating conditions. Here we propose theoretically and demonstrate experimentally that a parity-time-symmetric circuit incorporating a nonlinear gain saturation element provides robust wireless power transfer. Our results show that the transfer efficiency remains near unity over a distance variation of approximately one metre, without the need for any tuning. This is in contrast with conventional methods where high transfer efficiency can only be maintained by constantly tuning the frequency or the internal coupling parameters as the transfer distance or the relative orientation of the source and receiver units is varied. The use of a nonlinear parity-time-symmetric circuit should enable robust wireless power transfer to moving devices or vehicles.

Concepts: Fundamental physics concepts, Control theory, Resonance, Radio, Robust statistics, Nikola Tesla, Wireless energy transfer, Plugless Power


The ability to wirelessly power electrical devices is becoming of greater urgency as a component of energy conservation and sustainability efforts. Due to health and safety concerns, most wireless power transfer (WPT) schemes utilize very low frequency, quasi-static, magnetic fields; power transfer occurs via magneto-inductive (MI) coupling between conducting loops serving as transmitter and receiver. At the “long range” regime - referring to distances larger than the diameter of the largest loop - WPT efficiency in free space falls off as (1/d)(6); power loss quickly approaches 100% and limits practical implementations of WPT to relatively tight distances between power source and device. A “superlens”, however, can concentrate the magnetic near fields of a source. Here, we demonstrate the impact of a magnetic metamaterial (MM) superlens on long-range near-field WPT, quantitatively confirming in simulation and measurement at 13-16 MHz the conditions under which the superlens can enhance power transfer efficiency compared to the lens-less free-space system.

Concepts: Electromagnetism, Energy, Circle, Sustainability, Radio, Wireless, Transmitter power output, Wireless energy transfer


In this paper, a co-design method and a wafer-level packaging technique of a flexible antenna and a CMOS rectifier chip for use in a small-sized implantable system on the brain surface are proposed. The proposed co-design method optimizes the system architecture, and can help avoid the use of external matching components, resulting in the realization of a small-size system. In addition, the technique employed to assemble a silicon large-scale integration (LSI) chip on the very thin parylene film (5 μm) enables the integration of the rectifier circuits and the flexible antenna (rectenna). In the demonstration of wireless power transmission (WPT), the fabricated flexible rectenna achieved a maximum efficiency of 0.497% with a distance of 3 cm between antennas. In addition, WPT with radio waves allows a misalignment of 185% against antenna size, implying that the misalignment has a less effect on the WPT characteristics compared with electromagnetic induction.

Concepts: Brain, Electromagnetic radiation, Electromagnetic spectrum, Radio, Antenna, Electric power transmission, Wireless energy transfer, Yagi antenna


The ability to implant electronic systems in the human body has led to many medical advances. Progress in semiconductor technology paved the way for devices at the scale of a millimeter or less (“microimplants”), but the miniaturization of the power source remains challenging. Although wireless powering has been demonstrated, energy transfer beyond superficial depths in tissue has so far been limited by large coils (at least a centimeter in diameter) unsuitable for a microimplant. Here, we show that this limitation can be overcome by a method, termed midfield powering, to create a high-energy density region deep in tissue inside of which the power-harvesting structure can be made extremely small. Unlike conventional near-field (inductively coupled) coils, for which coupling is limited by exponential field decay, a patterned metal plate is used to induce spatially confined and adaptive energy transport through propagating modes in tissue. We use this method to power a microimplant (2 mm, 70 mg) capable of closed-chest wireless control of the heart that is orders of magnitude smaller than conventional pacemakers. With exposure levels below human safety thresholds, milliwatt levels of power can be transferred to a deep-tissue (>5 cm) microimplant for both complex electronic function and physiological stimulation. The approach developed here should enable new generations of implantable systems that can be integrated into the body at minimal cost and risk.

Concepts: Energy, Orders of magnitude, Human body, Power, Exponential function, Metre, Wireless energy transfer, Centimetre


Wireless energy transfer is a broad research area that has recently become applicable to implantable medical devices. Wireless powering of and communication with implanted devices is possible through wireless transcutaneous energy transfer. However, designing wireless transcutaneous systems is complicated due to the variability of the environment. The focus of this review is on strategies to sense and adapt to environmental variations in wireless transcutaneous systems. Adaptive systems provide the ability to maintain performance in the face of both unpredictability (variation from expected parameters) and variability (changes over time). Current strategies in adaptive (or tunable) systems include sensing relevant metrics to evaluate the function of the system in its environment and adjusting control parameters according to sensed values through the use of tunable components. Some challenges of applying adaptive designs to implantable devices are challenges common to all implantable devices, including size and power reduction on the implant, efficiency of power transfer and safety related to energy absorption in tissue. Challenges specifically associated with adaptation include choosing relevant and accessible parameters to sense and adjust, minimizing the tuning time and complexity of control, utilizing feedback from the implanted device and coordinating adaptation at the transmitter and receiver.

Concepts: Environment, Electromagnetic radiation, Implantable cardioverter-defibrillator, Natural environment, Systems theory, Radio, Adaptation, Wireless energy transfer


This paper presents an ultracompact design of biomedical implantable devices with integrated wireless power transfer (WPT) and RF transmission capabilities for implantable medical applications. By reusing the spiral coil in an implantable device, both RF transmission and WPT are realized without the performance degradation of both functions in ultracompact size. The complete theory of WPT based on magnetic resonant coupling is discussed and the design methodology of an integrated structure is presented in detail, which can guide the design effectively. A system with an external power transmitter and implantable structure is fabricated to validate the proposed approach. The experimental results show that the implantable structure can receive power wirelessly at 39.86 MHz with power transfer efficiency of 47.2% and can also simultaneously radiate at 2.45 GHz with an impedance bandwidth of 10.8% and a gain of -15.71 dBi in the desired direction. Furthermore, sensitivity analyses are carried out with the help of experiment and simulation. The results reveal that the system has strong tolerance to the nonideal conditions. Additionally, the specific absorption rate distribution is evaluated in the light of strict IEEE standards. The results reveal that the implantable structure can receive up to 115 mW power from an external transmitter and radiate 6.4 dB·m of power safely.

Concepts: Experiment, Specific absorption rate, Radio, Sensitivity analysis, Wireless, Transmitter power output, Wireless energy transfer, IEEE Standards Association