This tiny device constantly monitors the composition of a patient’s blood and sends the information via radio waves and/or Bluetooth to your smartphone and your doctor. The device is surgically inserted, using a needle, into the interstitial tissue (don’t worry, I didn’t know what it was, either). The patient wears a patch over the implant which contains its batteries, receiving signals from the implant and sending them to the receiver. According to Dr. Giovanni de Micheli, director of the Integrated Systems Laboratory at École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), the device is able to detect five compounds in the blood which can shed vital information on a patient’s current health. The implant can supposedly predict heart attacks hours in advance, monitor glucose levels in diabetics, and detect cholesterol, among other uses. Micheli hopes to have a commercial model ready within several years, but in the meantime researchers hope to begin testing the device on patients in intensive care.
What does all that boil down to? A modern-day tricorder may be just around the corner.
Here’s an interview with Dr. Micheli and Dr. Sandro Carrara about the implant: