If the first thing that comes to mind when ‘wearables’ is mentioned is Tony Stark’s Iron Man, you’re not alone. The recent popularity of sci-fi movies definitely influenced our perception of wearables and how they work. However, we’re now in a time where researchers prefer “Small but mighty” to “Big and fearful”.
Welcome to the era of implantable wearables.
What are Super-Stretchy Wearables?
A simple, yet all-encompassing definition describes implantable as devices which are installed into the body part for the purpose of monitoring, controlling, or achieving predefined objectives. Even though the growth of wearable technology means that it might transcend this definition in no time, it will not deviate from the sole aim.
And this sole aim is to leverage the interaction of the human body and advanced technology to improve the quality of life.
How are Implantable Wearables Built?
Thanks to rapid technological advancement, it is almost impossible to catch up with the current trends in the wearables industry. Usually, implantable devices are battery powered and nanotechnology has proved useful in creating minuscule batteries with unprecedented energy density and power density.
Programmable circuitry, as well as electrodes and wires which are biocompatible, are relied upon for the internal makeup. A commendable level of advancement has caused technologies for packing and fabrication to become widespread. As a result, sensors such as gyroscopes, accelerometers, and image sensors are embedded easily.
Embedding these components on an unusually small area is no small feat, yet, engineers are able to engraft them into a restrained space on a substrate which is very sensitive. Wireless communication technology is the icing on the cake as it allows for monitoring. In order to make the implantable wearable accessible to the average person, all these must be done at a low cost.
Implanting the Wearables
Implanting on the Surface of Your Body
Smart tattoos are the newest rave in the tech world. If you think it’s for fashion, you might have to guess again. Flat, stretchable, and flexible sensors have been developed to fit your skin perfectly and withstand the stress, wrinkle, moisture, etc. These wearables can be used to monitor signals from the brain, heart, and even the muscles.
Implanting Under the Skin
If you thought the concept of having electronic tattoos on your skin was cool, wait till you find out about dermally-implanted sensors. These are injected into the skin (usually, an area with appropriate vessels) and they can monitor anomalies in the blood chemistry.
Implantable Wearables on the Environment
The concept of sensors planted in strategic positions also aids our cause. For example, it was reported that Audi has a number of sensors in a car just to monitor the emotions of the driver. Similarly, Nest thermostat uses the same concept to adjust the temperature in an environment based on the weather.
Important Applications of Implantable Wearables
Wearables find importance in virtually every sphere of life. Predominantly, they find more application in health than other areas. For example, the smart tattoos mentioned above monitor heart arrhythmias and sleep disorders.
There are also brain implantables which help people suffering from Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. In addition to this, technology has created artificial body parts like the pancreas for people suffering from diabetes.
However, implantable wearables can be applied in other areas as mentioned below.
- Lifestyle Gadgets
- Fraud detection, etc.
The market for wearables is growing at an immense rate, it is tipped to surpass the $70 billion mark before the year 2025. We can safely say that the future is now and it’s here to stay.