Tracking the location of tissues and implants within the body is a big business, particularly when dealing with tumors. Because many localization technologies involve radiation or are limited in their accuracy and invasiveness, they’re not being used as widely as possible. Researchers at MIT have now developed a new technique, using commonly used radio waves, to perform in-body localization safely, at a distance, and with impressive accuracy.
The technology, dubbed as ReMix, is based on unusual WiFi technology that was developed a few years ago to detect people’s heart rate and other biocharacteristics completely unintrusively. It uses relatively weak radio waves that bounce off a patient. A marker implanted into tissue also bounces the waves, but its signature can be uniquely identified in the captured signal coming back.
In animal studies, the findings of which will be presented this week at the Association for Computing Machinery’s Special Interest Group on Data Communications (SIGCOMM) conference in Budapest, Hungary, the researchers were able to identify the location of their marker within 1.5 centimeters of the actual position. Of course this is an early development, and further research will hopefully lead to much more accurate localization.
The team believes that its technology may end up being used for a whole host of applications, including releasing drugs accurately at only certain points in the GI system or body as a whole.