Taiwanese researchers have developed a chip to treat backpain that is powered by mobile phone, a member of the team said Friday.

The chip is implanted directly into the sufferer's back but draws electricity from a power source in his or her cellphone, said Lin Chi-wan, a biomedical engineer at National Taiwan University.

This marks a departure from existing spinal cord stimulators, which are kept going by implanted batteries, making them more cumbersome for patients to use, according to the team.

"We have finished an animal trial for the new device and got good results," said Lin.

The coin-sized chip, the result of six years of research, is equipped with two electrodes which transmit electromagnetic waves to alleviate pain.

"We are looking into human tests soon to confirm the effectiveness of the chip," Lin said.

Lower-back treatment is the fourth biggest cost to the island's health insurance system, the state-owned Central News Agency said on its website.

Taiwan had 25.3 million cellphones, or 1.1 cellphones per resident, at the end of October.