Keep your doctor close to your heart: the wi-fi pacemaker

Paul Raven @ 21-08-2009

diagram of the heartEarlier this year I mentioned round-the-clock in-body medical monitoring as an imminent transhuman reality, but I didn’t think it’d be quite so fast.

OK, so it’s not a full suite of biomonitors, but a new design of pacemaker talks wirelessly to an internet-connected basestation in the home, sending all the data it gathers directly to the outpatient’s doctor:

So, basically, this patient can provide a full report on the condition of her heart without even leaving home – without doing anything, actually, since the pacemaker reports automatically – and the doctor is able to perform regular check-ups without seeing the patient at all. In fact, since routine pacemaker checks are typically done every six months, the wireless device offers a much greater level of monitoring and care than ever before.

The logical next step here is to make the basestation into some kind of expert system that can deal with routine changes of circumstance without having to involve a busy meat-doctor. Perhaps next time there’s a global epidemic we’ll just be able to breathe into a little device and have it tell us whether we have swine flu or a bit of a cold, followed by advice on how to respond to it. [image found via koreana]

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One Response to “Keep your doctor close to your heart: the wi-fi pacemaker”

  1. Jeremiah Tolbert says:

    Hey paul, can you add the ability to subscribe to comments and get email notifications of follow-ups? I always forget to recheck here.

    Anyway, I think the next step I’d want to see is for it to talk to my cell phone wirelessly and make emergency phone calls when something goes wrong and I’m away from the basestation.