Scientists at the Institute of Biomedical Engineering at Imperial College, London have created an implantable Pentium-based monitoring sensor. From the Times Online article:
The sensor, which includes a Pentium microprocessor just 2mm square, will initially be implanted in diabetics. Trials will begin by Christmas at St Mary’s hospital, London. The implant will be programmed to send an emergency text message via a mobile phone, alerting medical staff to changes in blood-sugar levels.
If the problem is serious, the patient will be given immediate medical advice. Once patients become familiar with the system, they could monitor their condition themselves.
The only restriction is that the computer’s low power output means that it needs a receiver–generally a mobile phone–to be within a metre of the patient to pick up the sensor’s wireless signal from its miniaturised antenna.
Chris Toumazou, director of the Institute of Biomedical Engineering at Imperial, is hoping eventually to link the sensor to an insulin pump that can be operated remotely by a doctor. The sensor could also be used to protect people with heart and respiratory diseases. The researchers are exploring ways to detect chemical changes in a patient’s blood.
“The computer in your body can take away anxiety and allow medics to take control of your care from miles away,” said Toumazou.