A biological implant mastermind from Stanford University has developed a microchip the size of a grain of rice that has the ability to be wirelessly powered and can implanted deep in the human body, paving the way for a new class of “electroceutical” devices that could control the human brain.
What makes this microchip special is that it’s powered using “mid-field powering,” which is a breakthrough in powering medical devices, instead of traditional bulky batteries that medical implants typically have. Ada Poon discovered how to use mid-field powering to transmit radio waves into the human body in order to keep these implants running.
To date there hasn’t been a safe and effective way to wirelessly transmit power through human flesh, making implants like pacemakers require a bulky battery and only able to be implanted directly under the skin. Even cochlear implants, which use wireless technology for power, are required to be implanted close to the skin’s surface. However Poon and her team of engineers have utilized the latest wireless discovery to create a rice sized implant that can be embedded directly into the heart, or even the brain to control nerve functions.
Thus far the technology has been tested in pigs and rabbits, however Poon will be looking to add humans as test subjects soon enough. According to independent testing, the radiation that’s created through mid-field power transfer is within the safety limits for human exposure, which means that human testing is all but definite.
It’s speculated that these implants will be used for the typical applications like pacemakers for the heart and brain, however the possibilities with such a device would be endless. They could be used to monitor your organ’s vital status and electronically report to your doctor, or even attached to specific areas in the brain allowing for the control of hormone production or to control specific neuron behaviors. It could be used to improve learning or even block certain signals that cause depression.
If any of this becomes reality, they could also be used in the justice system for behavior modification or other sinister means. Should scientists figure out what causes someone to be a rapist, give them an implant and that behavior is fixed. Or maybe if you’re a patterned criminal they give you an implant to calm that part of your brain and force you to comply with the law. The possibilities are really endless, and such technology is as scary as it is cool, especially with the government now being in control of our healthcare.
Would you ever allow such a device inside you? Let us know with a comment!