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Swiss scientists have developed a miniature device to be implanted under the skin that could detect components in blood and transmit data to doctors directly, says a report. Humans are veritable chemical factories who manufacture thousands of substances and transport them via our blood throughout our bodies. Some of these substances can be used as indicators of our health status.
A team of scientists at Ecole polytechnique federale de Lausanne (EPFL) has developed a tiny device that can analyse the concentration of these substances in the blood. Implanted just beneath the skin, it can detect up to five proteins and organic acids simultaneously, and then transmit the results directly to a doctor's computer, reports Science Daily. The research results were published and presented March 20, 2013, in Europe's largest electronics conference, DATE 13.
This method will allow a much more personalised level of care than traditional blood tests can provide. Health care providers will be better able to monitor patients, particularly those with chronic illness or those undergoing chemotherapy, reports Science Daily. The prototype, still in the experimental stages has demonstrated that it can reliably detect several commonly traced substances. The implant, a real gem of concentrated technology, is only a few cubic millimetres in volume but includes five sensors, a radio transmitter and a power delivery system.
Outside the body, a battery patch provides 1/10 watt of power, through the patient's skin, thus there's no need to operate every time the battery needs changing. Information is routed through a series of stages, from the patient's body to the doctor's computer screen. The implant emits radio waves over a safe frequency. The patch collects the data and transmits them via Bluetooth to a mobile phone, which then sends them to the doctor over the cellular network.
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