As population ages and with the advancements in medical technology, the number of patients using implanted electronic devices, such as artificial pacemakers and defibrillators, is increasing worldwide. Currently, the batteries of body-implanted devices are replaced by an incision surgery, which may lead to health complications. Accordingly, a new charging technique by wireless energy transfer is emerging that can also be used to charge the batteries of underwater devices, such as sensors, that are used for monitoring the conditions of submarine cables. The Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST, President: Seok-Jin Yoon) announced that a research team led by Dr. Hyun-Cheol Song at the Electronic Materials Research Center developed an ultrasonic wireless power transmission technology that can be applied in the above-mentioned research areas. Electromagnetic (EM) induction and magnetic resonance can be used in wireless energy transfer. EM induction is presently being used in smartphones and wireless earphones; however, its usage is limited because EM waves cannot pass through water or metal, resulting in short charging distance. In addition, this method cannot be easily used to recharge implanted medical devices as the heat generated during charging is harmful. The magnetic resonance method requires that the resonant frequencies of the magnetic field generator and transmitting device are exactly the same; moreover, a risk of interference with other wireless communication frequencies, such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, exists.
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