The size of a grain of sand, dispersed microfliers could monitor air pollution, airborne disease, and environmental contamination.
Northwestern University engineers have added a new capability to electronic microchips: flight.
About the size of a grain of sand, the new flying microchip (or “microflier”) does not have a motor or engine. Instead, it catches flight on the wind — much like a maple tree’s propeller seed — and spins like a helicopter through the air toward the ground.
By studying maple trees and other types of wind-dispersed seeds, the engineers optimized the microflier’s aerodynamics to ensure that it — when dropped at a high elevation — falls at a slow velocity in a controlled manner. This behavior stabilizes its flight, ensures dispersal over a broad area and increases the amount of time it interacts with the air, making it ideal for monitoring air pollution and airborne disease.
As the smallest-ever human-made flying structures, these microfliers also can be packed with ultra-miniaturized technology, including sensors, power sources, antennas for wireless communication and embedded memory to store data.
Your next doctor’s appointment could soon become much more informative thanks to new microchips the size of dust mites, only visible beneath a microscope.
Picture this: Your surgeon wants to continuously monitor your lungs prior to a procedure to ensure your respiratory system is strong enough to deal with anesthesia. So, a technician uses a hypodermic needle to inject a few small microchips into your body. Then, they use an ultrasound machine to communicate with the chips, which show your lungs are primed for the operation. Your subsequent surgery is a breeze.
This is a vision of the future with the world’s smallest single-chip system, a complete electronic circuit that technicians could one day inject directly into the body to monitor and diagnose certain health conditions.
Scientists at Columbia University have designed and fabricated the chips to measure body temperature so far, but they hope that one day, the chips can monitor everything from blood pressure, to glucose, to respiration, according to their new research, which appears in the journal Science Advances.
“We are very eager to pursue devices like this to augment ultrasonography, to go beyond what is available through endogenous characteristics of tissue,” lead researcher Ken Shepard, professor of electrical engineering and biomedical engineering at Columbia University, tells Pop Mech.
Editor’s note: DO freak out.
Electronics are getting imperceptibly small, opening new avenues for medical technology to place advanced monitoring and treatment devices inside our bodies. And Columbia University engineers just demonstrated a new and revolutionary version of this, creating the world’s smallest single-chip system ever developed, according to a recent study published in the journal Science Advances.
And, critically, the tiny new chip can be implanted via a hypodermic needle to measure internal body temperature, and potentially much more.
Pentagon scientists have unveiled a microchip implant that can be inserted into the skin and can sense the COVID-19 virus in a person’s bloodstream before they become sick.
They showed reporters on CBS’ “60 Minutes” how the device works. It is inserted into the skin and supposedly senses the COVID-19 virus, and when connected to a dialysis machine, can flush the virus out of the body before an individual gets sick.
‘You put it underneath your skin and what that tells you is that there are chemical reactions going on inside the body, and that signal means you are going to have symptoms tomorrow,” said former colonel Matt Hepburn, who now works for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).
While this technology may be highly advanced and perhaps effective at stopping the spread of COVID-19, the proliferation of such microchip solutions risks the creation of a dystopian environment that puts anything George Orwell prophesied to shame.
“In people who suffer from stress-related diseases, this circadian rhythm is completely thrown off and if the body makes too much or not enough cortisol, that can seriously damage an individual’s health, potentially leading to obesity, cardiovascular disease, depression or burnout.” – Adrian lonescu, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL), lead Nanoelectronic Devices Laboratory researcher While these devices may be helpful in a hospital setting, technology companies fully intent to integrate them into wearable tech like smart watches, pushing us closer to a world where everything we do is being tracked and recorded around the clock. “The joint R&D team at EPFL and Xsensio reached an important R&D milestone in the detection of the cortisol hormone,” said Xsensio CEO Esmeralda Magally. “Xsensio will make the cortisol sensor a key part of its Lab-on-SkinTM platform to bring stress monitoring to next-gen wearables.” These microchips are intended to eventually connect to the ‘internet of things,’ a comprehensive array of devices which track and record us at all times from our homes to our places of work. Former US intelligence chief James Clapper admitted over five years ago that the government ‘might’ use the internet of things to spy on you.
Remember back in the old days of, say, 2019, when anyone who talked about microchip implants, Americans being forced to show travel papers, and re-education camps was thought to be a crazy conspiracy theorist? And then 2020 rolled around and voila! It turns out those conspiracy theories weren’t so “crazy” after all.
And I’m not just talking about the government releasing info about UFOs.
We’re living in a time when someone will attempt to beat the crap out of you, burn your house down, or even kill you if you voted for the “wrong” presidential candidate. We’re being subjected to curfews, our movement is restricted, and our businesses have been forcibly shut down. One day, people will look back on this as the year that everything changed – or depending on how Americans respond to the mandates – the year we finally said enough.
Here are seven things that were considered crazy conspiracy theories…until now, when they’re becoming far too real.