ULTRAsponder in brief

EPFL, Dr. Catherine Dehollain,
Medtronic, Netherlands IMASONIC, France CSEM, Switzerland
INSERM, France HEIG-VD, Switzerland Rikshospitalet, Norway IMST, Germany SCIPROM, Switzerland
European Commission
FP7 - ICT priority
Total funding: 3.15 M€
Project Start: 1 September 2008
Project End: 31 March 2012

ULTRAsponder brought together scientists, industries and medical doctors, to work on the healthcare methodologies of the future. Focused on the patient acceptability and portability these methodologies are oriented to clinical conditions where the best possible analysis reside on long period constant monitoring of vital parameters. This will allow to perform measurements with a fixed frequency from few second to several hours for times varying from few months to few years completely changing the data that the physician will be able to analyze.

ULTRAsponder developed exclusive and unprecedented technologies based on ultrasonic telemetry techniques, for communication between one or several sensors or stimulators deeply implanted in the human body (the transponder) capable to memorize and pre-analyse measured data, and a control unit which is used for both recharging the implanted devices and retrieving the measured data to be transmitted to the external world. The project concept is shown schematically in the Figure.

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Despite the technology advances of these last years, the design issues for deeply implanted devices remain numerous, especially concerning miniaturization and power consumption. In addition, because of the body's dielectric nature, communicating with implants that are located deeply within the body, using conventional techniques like Radio Frequency (RF), may not work effectively especially due to electromagnetic compatibility and power transmission.

The project demonstrated the validity of ultrasonic telemetry techniques for an important medical application: chronicle heart failure; a pathology that requires continuous monitoring to provide medical doctors with the necessary data to elaborate personalized medical treatment. The project performed preliminary in vitro and in vivo tests of the developed devices.

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