BEACON TRANSCRIPT – Engineers from the University of California invented mini-implants that measure the health of rats. These sensors oversee muscle and nerve function and are no bigger than a speck of dust.
The devices which measure one cubic millimeter were implanted into rats by a team of engineers. They were then able to monitor how well their muscles and nerves work via ultrasound waves. The implants gave scientists essential data on how specific body parts of the rats are functioning.
This technology has big potential benefits for humankind. For now, they are hypothetical, but if they’re implemented into mass medical production they could change lives. The implants could allow physicians to keep organ health under observation, create new therapies for neurological disorders like the Alzheimer’s disease and create a better prosthetic control for the physically disabled.
Chips have been put into humans or animals before, but these sensors show a great deal of improvement as they are small, wireless and they don’t necessitate batteries. They also have a long life span which means they could stay in the body for many years before degrading.
Michel Maharbiz is an associate professor who worked with neuroscientist Jose Carmena to study and design the sensors.
Maharbiz believes this improvement is a fresh perspective on the field and a step forward. However, he says many years will pass before these chips being approved for human use. Safety testing and development before any clinical trial is essential. It will take a long time and it will not be cheap either.
The research was partly funded by the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency, because they saw the potential for scientific and health care implication in it. It could be used for re-establishing communication between the central nervous system and the intricate network of nerves all over the human body.
However, many people are wary when it comes to this type of technology. They are cautious about implant technology which could enhance human capabilities. However, those who are sick and don’t have a choice seem to accept these things a lot easier.
What’s your take on these implants which measure the health of rats? Do you think they could turn out useful? Would you use them? Please tell us what you think. Thanks!
Image Source – Flickr