We’re sorry but your browser lacks features required to view this site as intended.
Please upgraded to a standards compliant browser.
This site has been tested and optimised for IE11+, Chrome, Safari, Firefox and all modern browsers.
You may still attempt to load the site via the access link below.

Static HTML site

Congratulations! Your browser is free of javascript augmentations. Please use the access link below.

Static HTML site

Beyond wearables: electronic implants could cure disease

Source: The Telegraph - Matthew Sparkes

Something that is often forgotten now is that augmentations can literally take a person who was missing a critical function, restore it, and return them to a normal life. Somewhere along the way, we lost our empathy, sympathy, and our humanity...:

"Electronic implants could provide instantaneous cures for diseases which currently require lengthy drug treatments, as scientists develop a way to beam power deep into the body remotely using radio waves.

Until now medical implants have required bulky batteries or wireless charging devices that have a limited range, similar to the cradle which charges the battery in an electric toothbrush. But Stanford University researcher Ada Poon has now created a technique which allows devices to operate deep in the body, opening up a range of potential new applications including heart failure, Parkinson’s and depression.

Her team has already tested a device in a living pig which could be powered or recharged by a credit-card sized device placed externally on the skin, and used it to drive a tiny pacemaker in a rabbit. She is currently preparing the system for testing in humans.

The equipment uses wireless power about as strong as a mobile phone signal. The device was tested by an independent laboratory which normally tests phones and found to be well below safe levels for a human.

The technology uses “mid-field” waves which fall somewhere between the near-field waves used to charge electronic toothbrushes in their cradles and the far-field waves which carry our television and radio signals.

Devices such as hearing aids can already be charged using near-field waves, but the technology has a limited range and cannot be used to power implants buried deep in brain, heart or other muscle tissue.

Researchers claim that their findings could lead to new implants that will help to cure or manage diseases, but also sensors to monitor vital functions, electro-stimulators to change neural signals in the brain and drug delivery systems to apply medicines directly to affected areas.

"We need to make these devices as small as possible to more easily implant them deep in the body and create new ways to treat illness and alleviate pain," said Poon.

William Newsome, director of the Stanford Neurosciences Institute, said Poon's work created the potential to develop "electroceutical" treatments as alternatives to drug therapies.

He said such treatments could be more effective than drugs because implantable devices would directly target specific areas, unlike drugs which act globally throughout the body.

"To make electroceuticals practical, devices must be miniaturised, and ways must be found to power them wirelessly, deep in the brain, many centimetres from the surface," said Newsome. "The Poon lab has solved a significant piece of the puzzle for safely powering implantable microdevices, paving the way for new innovation in this field."

What could 'electroceuticals' cure?

1. Parkinson's 2. Epilepsy 3. Pain 4. Depression 5. Heart failure"

Related articles