Cyborgs In Real Life: Eight New Subdermal Implant Technologies That Could Soon Be Inside You
Subdermal implant technology is very quickly becoming a reality as people see the advantages of a microchip implant to enhance their daily life and routines. Not so long ago the thought of putting implantable technology under your skin was mostly reserved for the kind of weird person looking for an aesthetic body mod, now we are looking at placing the many forms of technology we use every day inside our bodies. In another 10-15 years microchip and RFID implants will probably be something we all have in our daily lives.
And not being the participanyt of having a subdermal implant will make people think you are the weird one.
‘Life moves pretty fast, if you don’t stop and look around once in a while you might miss it’ (thx Ferris). In this ever changing world it’s sometimes hard to keep up with the current iPhone model, let alone all the cutting-edge technology that is currently being developed to change our lives. And if you don’t want to get left behind i’d advise to give some of this new implantable technology a look, it might just be what you were hoping for.
Why You Might Consider A Subdermal Implant
Changes are happening which very soon might herald the end for us to carry around the vast array of electronic gadgets, apps and god knows what else we seem to need to keep us connected with the world.
Plus, with a subdermal implant you’d never lose anything again and also be in touch with every device, organization, health specialist, bank and personal security checking facility that you needed to be in contact with using your own subdermal implant ID card. ‘How can that be done’, you ask? Well, it’s pretty easy, by reducing the physical size of current implantable technology and making it small enough to be implanted under our skin you could pretty much carry out any task you are currently doing, but without any hardware to worry about.
It all sounds a bit science-fiction and nonsense, but the truth is a lot of this implantable technology is happening right now and there will be more due for release, probably before the release of the iPhone 8.
Take a look below at 8 of the most exciting ideas of subdermal tech that you might be wearing soon:
1. Implantable Smartphones
Sure, we’re virtual connected to our phones 24/7 now, but what if we were actually connected to our phones? That’s already starting to happen. Last year, for instance, artist Anthony Antonellis had an RFID chip embedded in his arm that could store and transfer art to his handheld smartphone.
Researchers are experimenting with subdermal implant sensors that turn human bone into living speakers. Other scientists are working on eye implants that let an image be captured with a blink and transmitted to any local storage (such as that arm-borne RFID chip).
But what takes the place of the screen if the phone is inside you? Techs at Autodesk are experimenting with a system that can display images through artificial skin. Or the images may appear in your eye implants.
2. Internal Healing chips
In 2014 President Obama announced 19 executive actions to improve the mental health of U.S. troops and veterans, and one in particular is ripped straight from the world of science fiction: ElectRx, a $78.9 million research program to develop “new, high-precision, minimally invasive subdermal implant technologies for modulating nerve circuits to restore and maintain human health.”
In simpler words: DARPA is developing tiny, implantable robots that can monitor your body and send electric impulses to your nerves to help your body fix itself when something goes wrong — something like Stargate‘s nanites or Doctor Who‘s nanogenes.
“The technology DARPA plans to develop through the ElectRx program could fundamentally change the manner in which doctors diagnose, monitor and treat injury and illness,” DARPA program manager Doug Weber said in a statement. “Instead of relying only on medication—we envision a closed-loop system that would work in concept like a tiny, intelligent pacemaker. It would continually assess conditions and provide stimulus patterns tailored to help maintain healthy organ function, helping patients get healthy and stay healthy using their body’s own systems.” Eventually, DARPA hopes to create ElectRx chips no bigger than a single nerve fiber, allowing doctors to inject them with a needle.
3. Brain-computer interface
New ways of controlling consumer electronics goods with both basic voice and gestures are suddenly common, but we could soon be operating computers not by barking out instructions or waving, but purely by thinking.
Research into the long researched brain-computer interface (BCI) – also known as the ‘mind-machine’ interface – is becoming so advanced that it’s set to create a whole new symbiotic relationship between man and machine. It could even lead to a situation where speech is rendered useless, and people wirelessly communicate through universal translator chips. No more complaining about loud music in nightclubs, then.
Forget about the wireless revolution – this revolutionary tech demands cables. “A brain-computer interface encompasses any form of controlling a computer via a direct electrical connection to the human body,” says Peter Cochrane, ex-CTO of BT and now an independent analyst.
That connection can be any form of nerve signal or impulse accessed from the surface of the human body, including head and limbs, or muscle impulses picked up by subdermal implant electrodes on the arm, hand, face or forehead generated by physical movement. Away from actually moving to establish a link between a person and computer, a BCI can use either an MRI scanner or a direct electrical connection to the human brain.
If you’re already thinking about mind control, you’re not far wrong. Even the movie Avatar, where humans remotely piloted a genetically engineered alien being, is closer than you might think.
4. Cyber pills that talk to your doctor
Digestible microchips embedded in drugs may soon tell doctors whether a patient is taking their medications as prescribed. No matter how fast pharmaceutical companies can churn out drugs to prevent or cure illnesses, health insurance doesn’t cover the cost of hiring a person to follow you around and remind you to take your meds. So the FDA has approved a pill that can do it on its own by monitoring your insides and relaying the information back to a healthcare provider.
“About half of all people don’t take medications like they’re supposed to,” says Eric Topol, director of the Scripps Translational Science Institute in La Jolla,California. “This device could be a solution to that problem, so that doctors can know when to rev up a patient’s medication adherence.” Topol is not affiliated with the company that manufactures the device, Proteus Digital Health in Redwood City,California, but he embraces the sensor’s futuristic appeal, saying, “It’s like big brother watching you take your medicine.”
The sand-particle sized sensor consists of a minute silicon chip containing trace amounts of magnesium and copper. When swallowed, it generates a slight voltage in response to digestive juices, which conveys a signal to the surface of a person’s skin where a patch then relays the information to a mobile phone belonging to a healthcare-provider.
Proponents of digital medical devices predict that they will provide alternatives to doctor visits, blood tests, MRIs and CAT scans. Other gadgets in the pipeline include implantable devices that wirelessly inject drugs at pre-specified times, and sensors that deliver a person’s electrocardiogram to their smartphone.
5. Bill Gates’ implantable birth control
Fighting over the remote control could soon end up in more than just a channel-hopping battle, if researchers at MIT have their way. In the Bill Gates-funded quest for the next form of contraception, a Massachusetts startup has come up with a small remote-controlled chip, like a digital wifi version of the pill, that will allow women to switch their fertility on and off at the touch of a button.
The subdermal implant chip is insetred under the skin and releases small doses of the contraceptive hormone levonorgestrel on a daily basis, with enough capacity to last 16 years. About the same size as a Scrabble tile, it houses a series of micro-reservoirs covered by an ultra-thin titanium and platinum seal.
The hormone is released by passing a small electric current from an internal battery through the seal, which melts it temporarily, allowing a 30 microgram dose of levonorgestrel to seep out each day. And it can be simply switched off by a wireless remote, avoiding the clinical procedures needed to deactivate other contraceptive implants.
6. Smart tattoos
MC10 out of Cambridge, Massachusetts, is turning our fantasies into a reality. It might be the shirt on your back that can monitor your vital signs and conform to your body with every beat of your heart, or how about a subdermal implant sensor under the skin, or even a tattoo (yes, a tattoo!) that can monitor and track the most intimate of human biological processes?
They have already teamed up with Reebok, the world famous shoe brand, on what is called the CheckLight – a piece of headgear worn by athletes to measure the force of blows to the head – something that is increasingly important as we learn about the prevalence of concussions in high impact sports like Football.
These innovations could one day lead us to a new dawn for mankind; one where people like you and me will be outfitted with electronic devices. It might be something we swallow, or get implanted, or even get a “smart tattoo.” Imagine the possibilities and the new heights we could reach in health care, the military, athletics, and even everyday business and the way people communicate. It’s not beyond our reach.
And people are already living this way. A man named Amal Graafstra, according to The Seattle Times, has put subdermal implant radio-frequency identification tags into his skin that allow him to get into his car, home or computer with the simple wave of his hands. It works so well, in fact, that he has sold the same rice-sized gadgets to more than 500 customers through his company Dangerous Things.
7. Smart dust
Perhaps the most startling of current implantable innovations is smart dust, arrays of full computers with antennas, each much smaller than a grain of sand, that can organize themselves inside the body into as-needed networks to power a whole range of complex internal processes. It’s the ultimate subdermal implant.
Imagine swarms of these nano-devices, called motes, attacking early cancer or bringing pain relief to a wound or even storing critical personal information in a manner that is deeply encrypted and hard to hack.
With smart dust, doctors will be able to act inside your body without opening you up, and information could be stored inside you, deeply encrypted, until you unlocked it from your very personal nano network.
8. RFID Microchip Implant
Ultimately, implanted microchips offer a way to make your physical body machine-readable. Currently, there is no single standard of communicating with the machines that underpin society – from building access panels to ATMs – but an endless diversity of identification systems: magnetic strips, passwords, PIN numbers, security questions, and dongles.
All of these are attempts to bridge the divide between your digital and physical identity, and if you forget or lose them, you are suddenly cut off from your bank account, your gym, your ride home, your proof of ID, and more.
A subdermal implant chip, by contrast, could act as our universal identity token for navigating the machine-regulated world. It marks the beginnings of a slow move toward a world where everything will be accessed from a single RFID microchip. If that day comes, I can’t think of a safer place to keep it than inside your own body.
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