September 11, 2012 -
According to a recent article in Digital Journal, engineers John Rogers and Todd Coleman designed a microcircuit patch that will change biometric capabilities drastically. The new technology is predicted to replace electrodes and large obtrusive monitors, which are often used to measure body and brain functions in hospitals and other healthcare facilities. Other similar technologies have been developed by different groups and have their own unique set of uses.
The new technology is almost similar to a piece of human skin. It stretches, retracts, bends and folds without damaging the integrity of the microcircuit. It can be sized to fit either a fold in the fingertip or even be fine-tuned enough to be attached to a human heart. This new wave of biometric possibilities has inspired researchers and developers to focus their efforts in the field of medical research and practice. It could potentially help thousands of suffering patients monitor their condition better or even potentially save the life of an ailing victim.
Because of its small size and adaptability, this microcircuit can be easily hooked up to the surface of the skin and even major organs. In the future, these can be used to monitor and test kidney function, monitor heart rates and blood pressure and even search for brain activity and function in comatose patients. These are predicted to not just gather data, as in the case of a monitoring system, but also transmit neurological stimuli to the body though an electronic signal via the brain stem to stimulate muscle growth.
However, as with all critical advances in technology, this too comes with its own set of apprehensions. Critics believe that positive developments in science such as the ability to stimulate muscle growth through the microcircuits could also be used to commit a heinous crime such as murder.
Will microcircuits be the future for medicine and healthcare?