Monday, July 30th, 2007
By Adam Thomas
The Department of Defense is planning to implant microchips in soldiers’ brains for monitoring their health information, and has already awarded a $1.6 million contract to the Center for Bioelectronics, Biosensors and Biochips (C3B) at Clemson University for the development of an implantable “biochip”.
Soldiers fear that the biochip, about the size of a grain of rice, which measures and relays information on soldiers vital signs 24 hours a day, can be used to put them under surveillance even when they are off duty.
But Anthony Guiseppi-Elie, C3B director and Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and Bioengineering claims the that the invivo biosensors will save lives as first responders to the trauma scene could inject the biochip into the wounded victim and gather data almost immediately.
He believes that the device has other long-term potential applications, such as monitoring astronauts’ vital signs during long-duration space flights and reading blood-sugar levels for diabetics.
“We now lose a large percentage of patients to bleeding, and getting vital information such as how much oxygen is in the tissue back to ER physicians and medical personnel can often mean the difference between life and death,” said Guiseppi-Elie. “Our goal is to improve the quality and expediency of care for fallen soldiers and civilian trauma victims.” The biochip also may be injected as a precaution to future traumas.”
Clemson scientists have formulated a gel that mimics human tissue and reduces the chances of the body rejecting the biochip, which has been a problem in the past.
The researcher predicts the biochip is five years away from human trials, and the DoD could start implanting microchips in soldiers bodies soon after.