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The medical devices of Telemetry Research have all the traits of the Kiwi "No 8 wire" tradition - except they are wireless.

The budding company has come up with a way to power medical devices through the skin.

This means no changing batteries and no wires inserted into the body.

Whether it is a blood-flow monitor or a heart pump, it can be recharged by simply standing near a charging pad.

The company, based at Auckland University's bio-engineering institute, is in the process of licensing the technology to large medical device manufacturers and is expecting this will propel turnover to $50 million within eight years.

"We are entering an age of medical devices," said chief executive Simon Malpas.

Implantable medical devices such as sensors, stimulators and actuators are getting smaller and more compact and can treat pain locally rather than blitzing the whole body the way a drug does.

But they all need power and this is where Telemetry can offer a solution.

Traditionally, high-power implantable devices run on external batteries requiring a wire to pass through the skin, which often causes problems with infection.

But Telemetry's technology beams the power in through the skin without causing heating, so the internal device can be completely sealed.

For patients this aids mobility and for researchers it means physiological signals can be measured remotely and over the long term.

Novel technology permits the power to be transferred without excess heating.

Applications for this technology include brain stimulation devices used in treating intractable pain or Parkinsons, sensors to monitor blood flow to different organs, or devices that assist the heart in pumping blood.

Telemetry has an exclusive licence to the technology from UniServices - the commercialisation arm of the university - in the field of medical devices for biomedical research, education, clinical treatment and diagnostics.

The company will file for patents in the United States, Europe, Japan and Australasia next year.

Telemetry developed out of a research project into physiological monitoring at the university.

Malpas and engineer David Budgett, who were working in the Department of Physiology (Malpas) and the Bioengineering Institute (Budgett) formed Telemetry last year to commercialise the concept of long-term physiological monitoring when they saw a need for it among medical device manufacturers.

Power electronics expert Dr Patrick Hu, also at the university, is one of the primary inventors of the wireless power method.

Their first devices allowed wireless monitoring of signals such as heart and brain activity.

Now they have built on that by using the wireless power technology to recharge tiny batteries in those devices as well.

The first commercial product that monitors physiological signals in animals was released in April.

Since then sales to pharmaceutical companies and universities in the US, Australia and Japan have totalled $95,000 through Telemetry's worldwide distributor, ADInstruments.

Next year it is forecasting revenue of $600,000 from that device.

But the bigger market is in licensing the wireless technology to large medical device manufacturers, which will bring the technology into the home.

Budgett said that was on the verge of happening, with the technology of interest to many implantable device manufacturers.

The company hoped to have strategic alliances or OEM (original equipment manufacture) arrangements tied up with two American companies next year.

One of these deals would see the technology used for heart assist devices - a market worth US$7 billion ($10 billion) to US$12 billion, he said.

Company shareholders include the founders and Auckland University.

The company has followed a traditional funding model to get it to where it is today.

UniServices provided the initial seed funding for prototype development.

A $250,000 grant from the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology last month will help with the continuation of research and development of the wireless power.

Telemetry, which has four staff, is now in the midst of capital-raising for a further $400,000 to expand its intellectual property portfolio, market research and research and development.

Budgett said discussions with local venture-capital companies and the Ice Angels were in the early stages.

www.telemetryresearch.com