Implantable Eye Pressure Sensor
As medical technology advances, humans are increasingly becoming cyborgs. We can replace more and more parts of the body with artificial counterparts, and even upgrades.
Engineers at the University of Washington have developed a small, low-power pressure sensor that can potentially (with improvements) be incorporated into an artificial lens used to replace lenses fogged over by cataracts. These pressure sensors can then monitor the pressure inside the eye and convey that information wirelessly to a radio receiver.
This can be useful for patients with glaucoma, which is an increase in the pressure inside the eye. This increased pressure can damage the optic nerve and even cause blindness. Patients with glaucoma require frequent visits to the opthalmologist to have their eye pressure measured in the office. With such an implant, however, they could have their eye pressure measured daily, and right at home. This would likely allow for earlier detection of increased pressure, reducing damage to the optic nerve.
The current pressure sensor is still too large to fit inside a fake lens. The engineers would need to downscale the design before it could incorporated into lens replacements. So this one is not yet ready for prime time, but it is an interesting concept. It also shows the many potential applications of implantable devices as the technology develops so that they can be made smaller and use less power. Another desirable feature of implantable devices is the ability to be recharged from ambient energy in the body, another area being actively researched.
If we continue to make steady progress with implantable technology, the future may indeed belong to the cyborgs.