Energy harvesting: Powering connected drug delivery devices

Drug delivery devices have previously operated without any electrical power but are now increasingly including connected apps with a corresponding need for at least low levels of power. This article examines the opportunities and practicalities of using energy harvesting technologies in drug delivery devices. With a specific focus on enabling connectivity, it offers insight on whether it is the right choice for new device development.

Connectivity has become a watchword for the drug delivery industry, but it’s more than just the latest trend. There are many benefits to a device that can communicate externally; some are obvious, providing the ability to monitor patient behavior and compliance with a treatment plan for example, but other benefits are less so. Connected users might be given access to a specialist portal, through which they can manage their condition and get advice remotely from healthcare professionals. The proliferation of smartphones and ubiquity of wireless technology makes connectivity an essential tool for doctors, who are increasingly involved in post-diagnostic care. With Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) and near field communication (NFC) technologies now readily available, the race is on to connect drug delivery devices and so help improve patient outcomes.