Irish ‘smart’ chip to revolutionise how heart pacemakers are made, work, and fitted

Irish researchers have developed a ‘smart’ electronic chip that will revolutionise how heart pacemakers are made, work, and fitted.

Irish ‘smart’ chip to revolutionise how heart pacemakers are made, work, and fitted

A prototype of the biomedical and implantable chip, which has been designed to help make heart pacemakers smaller, more efficient, and more convenient for patients, will be unveiled in Cork this morning.

The ultra-low power programmable device is the result of a two-year Enterprise Ireland-funded partnership between the Microelectronic Circuits Centre Ireland (MCCI), based at the Tyndall National Institute in the city, and medical devices giant Boston Scientific.

The project was led by Gerry McGlinchey and Ivan O’Connell at the MCCI.

“We have combined the pacemaker and other novel circuits into a single chip in order to make them smarter, more sensitive and more power-efficient,” said MCCI executive director Donnacha O’Riordan.

Donnacha O’Riordan, Executive Director, Microelectronic Circuits Centre Ireland and Michael Keane, Process Development Director, Boston Scientific Clonmel with first samples of an innovative multi-function programmable electronic chip designed to enable smaller and more efficient pacemakers at Tyndall National Institute.
Donnacha O’Riordan, Executive Director, Microelectronic Circuits Centre Ireland and Michael Keane, Process Development Director, Boston Scientific Clonmel with first samples of an innovative multi-function programmable electronic chip designed to enable smaller and more efficient pacemakers at Tyndall National Institute.

“The programmable integrated circuit uses separate channels on a single chip for sensing the activity of the heart and for setting the pace of beating. This research will enable smaller implantable pacemakers in the future, which would result in less invasive procedures to implant them and the devices would need to be replaced less frequently, firmly establishing MCCI as a centre of excellence for bio-medical microelectronics research.”

Boston Scientific’s process development director, Michael Keane, said the relationship with MCCI provided them with access to cutting-edge chip design research.

“The biomedical circuits research capability in MCCI is now a critical part of securing and growing Boston Scientific’s research and development presence in Ireland,” he said.

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