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9 Stunning Technologies That Could Soon Be Part of Your Body

Brain-computerYou may have heard the buzz surrounding the new Apple iWatch, or have seen people test-driving Google Glass devices. All that attention over wearable devices might lead you to believe that they are going to be the next big shift in technology—but not so fast.

Wearable technology may have its fifteen minutes of fame, but it will soon transition into the next big technological innovation: implanting these devices into your own body. Don’t believe us? It’s already here.  And if you’re still not convinced, here are some signs that implantable tech is growing rapidly, and that it will be part of your life (and your body) in the near future.

  • Implantable Smartphones: Admit it, you’re virtually connected to your smartphone 24/7 as is, right? But what if you were actually connected to your phone? Scientists are already looking into it. Artist Anthony Antonellis, for instance, had an RFID chip embedded in his arm that could store and transfer art to his handheld smartphone. Other scientists are working on eye implants that let an image be captured with a blink and transmitted to any local storage (such as an RFID chip in the arm).
  • Healing Chips: You may have seen some of our blog posts about 3D printed organs in the past, but not everyone needs a new liver to survive. Right now, there are patients using cyber-implants that tie directly to smartphone apps to monitor and treat diseases. There’s also a new bionic pancreas being tested at Boston University that connects to your smartphone to help monitor blood sugar levels in diabetic patients. Soon, dozens of other medical issues from heart murmurs to anxiety will have implant/phone initiatives underway.
  • Cyber Pills that Talk to Your Doctor: Implants won’t just talk to your phone—they’ll also be talking to your doctor. A project called Proteus from Britain is working on developing cyber-pills with microprocessors in them that can text doctors directly from inside your body. The pills can share (literally) inside info to help doctors know if you are taking your medication properly and if it is having the desired effect.
  • Smart Tattoos: There are a few companies and universities that are taking the tattoo to a whole new level. A company called Dangerous Things has an NFC chip that can be embedded in a finger, letting you unlock things or enter codes simply by pointing. Researchers at the University of Illinois have also crafted an implantable skin mesh of computer fibers thinner than a human hair that can monitor your body’s inner workings from the surface.
  • Brain-Computer Interface: Having the human brain linked directly to computers is the dream (or nightmare) of sci-fi fans. But now, a team at Brown University called BrainGate is on the brink of a real-world movement to link human brains directly to computers. As their website says, “using a baby aspirin-sized array of electrodes implanted into the brain, early research from the BrainGate team has shown that the neural signals can be ‘decoded’ by a computer in real-time and used to operate external devices.” Chip maker company Intel predicts that brain-computer interface will practically be available by 2020.
  • Melting Bio-Batteries: One of the big challenges in the movement towards implantable technology is a logistical question: How do you change the batteries or charge them? Well, a team at Draper Laboratory in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is working on biodegradable batteries. They would generate power inside the body, transfer it wirelessly where needed, and then simply melt away.
  • Smart Dust: This is probably either the crown jewel of implantable technology or the most startling sign that technology has gone too far: Smart Dust, an arrangement of full computers (with antennas!), each much smaller than a grain of sand, that can organize themselves inside the body into networks to power a whole range of complex internal processes. Imagine swarms of these nano-devices, called motes, attacking early cancer or bringing pain relief to a wound or even storing critical personal information that is deeply encrypted and hard to hack.

There are more examples in the Yahoo News article and we encourage you to check them out for yourselves. Implantable technology is not as farfetched as you might think. Soon, you won’t even need a computer screen to check out the Dream It Do It blog—you could just think it and the brain implant will do the rest!

photo credit: “Nine Real Technologies That Will Soon Be Inside You” via YahooNews.com

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