MedTech Unplugged: A Q&A
on Wireless Charging
By Lee Goldberg, Editor
Wireless charging isn’t just for cell phones anymore. Thanks to its convenience, reliability and ease of use, the technolo- gy is rapidly finding applications in everything from power
tools to household appliances. Contact-free charging also holds great
promise for medical applications. For example, wireless charging can
eliminate the need for patients with pacemaker implants to periodically undergo the risk and expense of an operations to remove and
replace the unit’s battery. Designers are also discovering that induc-tively-charged care and treatment equipment eliminates failure-prone
power connectors and can be sterilized more easily and thoroughly.
To help you get better acquainted with wireless charging, MDT
invited George Gerwe, a director of business development at RRC
power solutions Inc. ( www.rrc-wireless-power.com), to give us a quick
tutorial on the technology.
During his 28-year career, Mr. Gerwe has also held several positions with ICC, Think Outside, Iomega, Energizer Power Systems a
Division of Eveready Battery Company, Gates Energy Products and
Power-Sonic Corporation. He earned a B.A. degree from the University of Iowa.
MDT: Are there any medical applications where wireless charging is
GG: Yes! In talking with a leading medical infusion pump manufacturer and a worldwide manufacturer of patient monitors, they
both noted that the #1 reason for failure and/or service of their
device is due to the connector. In these cases, either the connector
has prematurely failed due to overuse and/or abuse OR the ingress
of fluids into the unit. Having a completely sealed unit will allow
these companies to eliminate a significant portion of repair and
service downtime. This is just one simple example, and there are
MDT: Are there any types of applications where wireless charging
technology is not recommended?
GG: We are not working on medical implanted solutions. That
requires a much different design and focus, and there are other
firms working in this area. We are focusing on medical devices –
equipment, handheld solutions, patient monitors, etc. All of those
devices are an excellent fit for wireless power.
MDT: What are the design issues which affect the efficiency of power
transfer between the transmitter and receiver?
GG: We believe the alignment of the coils to be a critical factor in
a medical design. Not only must you be conscious of the vertical
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