Oral-History:Robert Arzbaecher

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About Robert Arzbaecher

Robert Arzbaecher received his Bachelor’s from the Fournier Institute of Technology and his PhD in Electrical Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana (1960). Between 1953 and 1960 he worked at the Argonne National Laboratory for 5 years, working on nuclear reactor control and instrumentation. He also spent 1955-56 in the Army, in the Army Reactors Branch of the Atomic Energy Commission. From 1960 to the late 1960s he worked at the Christian Brothers College in Memphis; he then moved to the University of Illinois at Chicago; from 1976 to 1981 he was at the University of Iowa as Chairman of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Professor of Medicine; since then he has been at the Pritzker Institute of Medical Engineering in Chicago. In the early 1960s he collaborated with Daniel Brody, a cardiologist at the University of Tennessee, on theoretical electrocardiography. In the late 1960s and early 1970s he invented the swallowable pill electrode, for recording electrocardiograms from inside the esophagus. The electrode can detect atrial arrhythmias and can be used as part of an external pacemaker. His family founded Arzco Medical Systems to sell these pill electrodes and sold the business in 1987. His research since has been on allowing real-time treatment of atrial arrhythmia, atrial fibrillation, by automatic detection and automatic drug delivery via a motorized pump. He has been working for 25 years to get the technology together, and is now approaching the stage of clinical trials in animals.

About the Interview

ROBERT ARZBAECHER: An Interview Conducted by Frederik Nebeker, IEEE History Center, 14 October 1999

Interview #369 for the IEEE History Center, The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc., and Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

Copyright Statement

This manuscript is being made available for research purposes only. All literary rights in the manuscript, including the right to publish, are reserved to the IEEE History Center. No part of the manuscript may be quoted for publication without the written permission of the Director of IEEE History Center.

Request for permission to quote for publication should be addressed to the IEEE History Center Oral History Program, Rutgers - the State University, 39 Union Street, New Brunswick, NJ 08901-8538 USA. It should include identification of the specific passages to be quoted, anticipated use of the passages, and identification of the user.

It is recommended that this oral history be cited as follows:
Robert Arzbaecher, an oral history conducted in 1999 by Frederik Nebeker, IEEE History Center, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ, USA.


Interview: Robert Arzbaecher
Interviewer: Frederik Nebeker
Date: 14 October 1999
Place: Atlanta, Georgia