Annals of Biomedical Engineering

, Volume 37, Issue 11, pp 2390–2401 | Cite as

In Vivo Demonstration of a Self-Sustaining, Implantable, Stimulated-Muscle-Powered Piezoelectric Generator Prototype

  • B. E. Lewandowski
  • K. L. Kilgore
  • K. J. Gustafson


An implantable, stimulated-muscle-powered piezoelectric active energy harvesting generator was previously designed to exploit the fact that the mechanical output power of muscle is substantially greater than the electrical power necessary to stimulate the muscle’s motor nerve. We reduced to practice the concept by building a prototype generator and stimulator. We demonstrated its feasibility in vivo, using rabbit quadriceps to drive the generator. The generated power was sufficient for self-sustaining operation of the stimulator and additional harnessed power was dissipated through a load resistor. The prototype generator was developed and the power generating capabilities were tested with a mechanical muscle analog. In vivo generated power matched the mechanical muscle analog, verifying its usefulness as a test-bed for generator development. Generator output power was dependent on the muscle stimulation parameters. Simulations and in vivo testing demonstrated that for a fixed number of stimuli/minute, two stimuli applied at a high frequency generated greater power than single stimuli or tetanic contractions. Larger muscles and circuitry improvements are expected to increase available power. An implanted, self-replenishing power source has the potential to augment implanted battery or transcutaneously powered electronic medical devices.


Piezoelectric energy conversion Mechanical muscle power Electrical stimulation Rabbit 



This project was funded by NASA Glenn Research Center’s Human Health and Performance Project, The State of Ohio BRTT 03-10, the Department of Veterans Affairs RR&D B367R, the NIH DK077089 and supported by the Cleveland Functional Electrical Stimulation Center. We would like to acknowledge the contribution of Narendra Bhadra, CWRU, who designed the nerve cuff electrodes used in the animal experiments. We would like to acknowledge the contributions of Fred Montague, CWRU, who designed the low power stimulator and Steve Garverick, CWRU, who provided design advice on the load circuitry used in our system.


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Copyright information

© Biomedical Engineering Society 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • B. E. Lewandowski
    • 1
    • 2
  • K. L. Kilgore
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
  • K. J. Gustafson
    • 2
    • 4
  1. 1.Bioscience and Technology BranchNASA Glenn Research CenterClevelandUSA
  2. 2.Department of Biomedical EngineeringCase Western Reserve UniversityClevelandUSA
  3. 3.Metro Health Medical CenterClevelandUSA
  4. 4.Louis Stokes Cleveland Department of Veterans Affairs Medical CenterClevelandUSA

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