Friday, April 23, 2010

Medical Implant Issues: Part 1, A True Story

When I started this article, I thought I could place it into a single posting.  However, having written just the first section, noted it's length and how much more there was to write.  Thus, I decided to turn this into a serialized publication just as I am doing with HE-75.  Thus, here is Part 1 ...

Part 1: Background Story

Before I dive into the technical details of this issue, I want to tell a true story from my own experience.  It involves a friend of mine.  (I need to be vague regarding the person's identity including gender and how I came to know this person.  As you read this, you'll understand.

My friend was incredibly intelligent (e. g., the best applied statistician I have ever known) and physically attractive, and diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic.  In the early 1990's, my friend underwent back surgery.  To my amazement, my friend claimed that the surgeon had placed a "chip," small processor into the person's spinal cord.  My friend said that the chip could be activated by people with controls that looked like garage door openers.  When activated, the chip would cause my friend to have a sudden, overwhelming desire to have sexual relations with the person who had activated the chip.  My friend called this chip a "tutu."

At the time I had been part of the cutting-edge technology community to know that such a chip was absurd.  And I told my friend that this chip did not exist. My information was not well received by my friend who was convinced of the reality of this chip.

I tell this story because at the time my friend informed me of the "tutu," the idea of embedding a chip in a human being and activate it using wireless means was patently absurd.  Embedding programmable chips with wireless communications less than a decade and a half later is no longer considered absurd, but real.  And for some people, frightening with religious overtones.  Consider what the Georgia state legislature just passed and you'll understand what I mean.  Here's a link to that article: Georgia Senate Makes "Mark of the Beast Illegal."

The reaction from the Georgia Senate makes my paranoid-schizophrenic friend's story seem plausible.  Interestingly enough and I did not realize it at the time (but I do now), that was my introduction to wireless, medical remote programming.  As I said, my friend was extremely intelligent and as it turned out more creative and prescient than I realized at the time.  Turns out that today a device embedded in the spinal cord with the ability to trigger sexual experience is real.  And the ability to embed microprocessors and controls in people with the capability of wireless communication and medical management is also real.

I tell you that story not to make light of people's stories and fears, but as a "sideways" introduction to the technical topic of dealing with multiple, embedded medical monitoring and remote programming systems.  And to suggest that people may have real fears and concerns regarding the capabilities that technologists like myself often overlook.  In this series I discuss real and imagined fears as well as the technical problems with multiple, implanted devices.

Part 2: Multiple, Implanted Wireless Communicating Devices

Books sold by Amazon that might be of interest in this series

New Frontiers in Medical Device Technology

MEMS and Nanotechnology-Based Sensors and Devices for Communications, Medical and Aerospace Applications

1 comment:

  1. Lindsay Rosenwald Rosenwald, 33, specializes in finding and underwriting promising medical and biotechnology companies