An article in the latest issue of the journal Artificial Organs (abstract) examines the PediPump™, a new ventricular assist device for children and newborns. The device, a product of Albany-based Foster-Miller Technologies, is still in prototype stage and has not been approved by the FDA. Measuring only 7mm x 70 mm, the pump is a magnetically levitating medgadget, according to the company:
Designed for application to either axial-flow or mixed-flow blood pumps, this system uses two passive radial bearings and one active thrust bearing to levitate the rotor. A generator supplies electric power to control electronics mounted on the rotor, and a miniature accelerometer directly measures axial acceleration and eliminates the need for a sensor target.
The system is unique in that there are no electric wires. The generator, sensor, and all electronics are “on board” the pump rotor. This reduces the size, weight, and complexity of the magnetic suspension system, and will consume less than 0.2 W of additional power versus traditional off-board electronics.