The US technology blog ReadWrite recently said that many people may be afraid of implantable wearable devices. But in fact, cochlear implants began to develop in the early 1980s, and implantable contraceptive devices were gradually accepted in the 1990s. Whether it's artificial joints or pacemakers, more and more implantable devices are being used to improve people's quality of life and even save lives.
Wearable devices are getting smaller and smarter. It is conceivable that small wearable devices implanted under the skin in the future will help people monitor the situation outside the body. In the most innovative ways, implantable wearables will change the lives of many people.
1. Treating diseases through devices implanted in the brain
For some serious diseases that are difficult to treat by drugs and other means, starting with high-tech equipment and starting from the brain may be a good treatment. For example, doctors have begun to use vagal nerve stimulation to treat severe epilepsy. Psychiatric neurotechnologists are experimenting with transcranial direct current stimulation and transcranial magnetic field stimulation to treat chronic pain, drug-ineffective depression, fibromyalgia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, Parkinson's disease, and schizophrenia.
Deep current stimulation of the brain can treat severe obsessive-compulsive disorder, depression, and a range of other diseases, and stimulation of different regions of the brain can treat different problems. In practice, the electrodes are implanted in the brain, and devices with batteries and pulse generators are implanted into the chest or abdominal cavity and wired to the skull. The skull is connected to the electrodes. At startup, the device emits current, stimulates nerve fibers, and transmits information from the stress area of â€‹â€‹the brain to the prefrontal lobes of the brain.
With further knowledge of other areas of the brain in the future, we will have more wearable devices for the treatment of brain diseases. Some industry insiders speculate that implantable devices that help improve memory and IQ will arrive earlier than we think.
Through a matchstick-sized device â€œstentrodeâ€, research organizations in Melbourne, Australia are trying to control their limbs with their minds. After implanting a blood vessel close to the cerebral cortex, the device picks up the brain's signals and allows the deaf to manipulate the mechanical bones that connect to the limbs. This device inputs electrical signals from the brain into the computer, which then sends signals to the mechanical bones attached to the arms or legs to help the person move. However, the success of stentrode depends on the location of the implant, which means that very complicated surgery is required.
In 2017, some of the paralyzed patients at Royal Melbourne and Austin Hospital in Australia will undergo the stentrode trial. If the trial is successful, the technology will be commercially available in as little as six years.
2. Bionic eyes are coming
Technology can help blind people restore their vision and even get super vision. In January of this year, the blind man Rhian Lewis implanted a tiny electronic chip behind the retina of his right eye. After the chip is implanted into the eyeball, it replaces the damaged photoreceptor. The chip captures the light that enters the eye, stimulates the nerve cells in the inner retina, and signals the brain through optical nerves. This device is connected to a small computer implanted under the skin behind the ear, and the device power comes from a solenoid-like hearing aid. After the surgery is completed and the wound is healed, the device starts working. With a handheld device, Lewis can adjust sensitivity, contrast and frequency to get the best signal in different environments.
For those who don't want to wear glasses, another option is Bionic Lens contact lenses. This is a product from OcumeTIcs Technology, and the company's philosophy is to completely abandon frame glasses and contact lenses. OcumeTIcs Bionic Lens has spent 8 years researching and costing $3 million. With this technology, the user's vision will be three times that of 1.0 without wearing any glasses. The price of this procedure is about $3,200 per eye, and it takes two to five years for the technology to be approved.
3. Contraceptive chip
Microchips Biotech, which was spun off from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is developing birth control chips. This product is supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. This chip releases the contraceptive and supports wirelessly turning it on and off. The chip is equipped with an antenna and a battery that can be implanted under the skin to release a precise dose of hormone at preset intervals. Unlike other contraceptive devices, when a woman wishes to have a baby, the device does not have to be removed from the body.
to sum up
In the future, implantable wearables will make life easier, but it can be more complicated.
The exploration of implantable RFID chips has been around for some time. Chips that are implanted in the palm of your hand can open the door, start a car, or replace a credit card. It is conceivable that garments embedded in chips will be replaced by implantable wearable devices in the future. In an emergency and in times of war, such technology can also be used to verify an individual's identity. These chips can hold personal medical records.
However, many believe that the ease of use of RFID chips will also lead to high incidence of identity theft and financial information theft. Others believe that long-term implantation of such devices in the body may result in infection. However, no matter what the outside world thinks, such technologies are gradually maturing and have been successfully applied to a range of purposes. This will also be part of the future development of wearable devices.
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