Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Tech that's good for your heart


So far, they are calling it a new "tattoo."
Imagine a chip or patch that is ultra-thin and applied to the skin with water.  You know, like one of those temporary tattoos you get in CrackerJacks?  Only this patch would be loaded with micro-circuitry that can measure and transmit any number of medical stats.  Diabetics would never have to mess with another needle again to check their blood sugar levels.  Heart rate, nerve activity, brain activity, muscle movement, it all can be sent to a monitor.  Perhaps a mobile device clipped to each nurse assigned to you at the hospital.
Why wait until you're already in there?  One of these high tech dealy-bobs could transmit an alarm to your own mobile device any time a vital sign showed indications of trouble.  It could warn you about a heart attack before you're even feeling symptoms.  And there are quite a few men I know who might still be alive today if they had this technology, been warned, and not said "oh I feel weird, gonna go lie down for a while."  The microcomputers might even develop to the point where victims of stroke or ALS might be able to speak again by placing one of these over their throat.  The computer could translate the motions of speech.

The engineers who developed this new device are keen to point out that this promises to be an advance not just for medicine, but for personal, wearable electronics as a whole.  With it, we might one day be able to access the Internet without need of an external device or at the very least we may see the world through augmented reality contact lenses and not bulky glasses.  Wow, the more I read about this the more I want one.

Of course this new tech has already brought the Luddites out.  There are those who fear that your medical information could be intercepted by someone else, thought I'm flummoxed as to what someone could do with your pulse or respiration rate.  Then the fundies are claiming that it's "the mark of the beast" forewarned in the Book of Revelation.  Seriously, look at the comments beneath the article.  Where do these people come from?

Heck, the only thing I'm concerned about is that if the patch is water soluble, what happens when you sweat?

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