Greatbatch Extends Its Relationship with WiTricity to Include Wireless Energy Transfer for Implantable and Interventional Medical Devices

CIOReview Team | Tuesday, 17 May 2016, 10:25 IST

WiTricity, the industry pioneer in wireless power transfer over distance, announced that Greatbatch, a global developer and manufacturer of medical devices and components, has extended its relationship with WiTricity to leverage its wireless energy transfer technology in the development of implantable medical device applications. Under the terms of this expanded licensing and collaboration agreement, Greatbatch licenses WiTricity’s intellectual property (IP) 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.

Unlike the consumer electronics and automotive industries, where wireless energy is reaching an inflection point, the healthcare industry continues to struggle with cords and power transfer limitations. With more than 51 million surgeries taking place annually in the US, operating rooms are frequently challenged by the tangle of power cords that can hamper procedural efficiency. Considering that more than 150 million people worldwide are candidates for power-centric neurostimulation implants, significant opportunity exists to untether the healthcare space for physicians and their patients, enabling therapy delivery with fewer limitations.

WiTricity and Greatbatch announced Greatbatch’s plans to design and develop advanced wireless power transfer solutions for surgical and portable medical equipment in August 2015. This new agreement expands collaboration between Greatbatch and WiTricity to cover a broad range of medical devices and systems. Greatbatch intends to work closely with customers to define opportunities to leverage WiTricity technology into medical devices and clinical applications where wireless power transfer solutions can address unmet clinical needs, enabling critical innovation in the current and next generations of implantable, interventional and portable medical devices.

“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.”

WiTricity’s patented technology offers unique benefits for the medical device industry. Flexible positioning and increased distance for high efficiency charging – as well as the ability to charge through non-metallic materials such as plastic and glass – allow designers to remove contacts and create sealed systems. 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. In addition, WiTricity’s technology has the potential to significantly improve the usability and efficiency of implantable devices charged or powered through the skin.

“Implantable medical applications are a natural fit for WiTricity technology, allowing new designs that increase patient comfort, reduce battery sizes and deliver a better overall patient experience,” said WiTricity CEO Alex Gruzen. “Working with Greatbatch, a decided leader in medical device design and manufacturing, enables WiTricity to address the medical market as quickly and efficiently as possible.”