Tag Archives: implants

Subdermal analgesics – implanted painkillers

neural stimulator implantA pill for every ill? How very Twentieth Century! In the future, my friend, your chronic pains will be alleviated by tiny subdermal devices wired directly into your nerves, activated remotely beyond the body by radio signals from a master control device:

The device works similarly to spinal-cord stimulators for managing chronic pain. The idea is that the electrical jolts delivered by the device override the neural pain signals being transmitted to the spinal cord. However, the precise mechanism is not yet clear.


Like some cochlear implants and other medical devices, the implant is powered with radio-frequency transmission: radio waves transmitted by the external coil generate a magnetic field in the internal coil, which powers the electrodes. Adopting technologies from the rapidly advancing RFID world has allowed the researchers to further shrink the device.

Before rushing off to hassle your local medical practitioner for a set, however, bear in mind that this is still at the conceptual stage:

Researchers have developed a prototype device, which they are testing in rats. The device can effectively stimulate peripheral nerves in rats, although it’s not yet clear whether the electrical stimulation alleviates chronic pain. (Scientists assess chronic pain in rats by recording how much the animals eat; a rat in pain won’t eat as much.)

Assuming it works as expected, this could be a real life-changer for people suffering with chronic conditions. However, I don’t think it’s a wild leap of logic to assume that if nerve stimulation can be used to alleviate pain, it can probably be used to create it as well – maybe even with exactly the same set-up. It’s easy enough to hijack regular RFID tags, after all.

Thinking a little further, perhaps this technology would become part of the suite of telepresence devices. Rather than wear some sort of all-over suit, sensory stimulation from virtual worlds could be reproduced in the body by carefully timed and coded radio signals… which would make the perceptual line between reality and the metaverse that much thinner and fuzzier. [via grinding.be; image borrowed from Technology Review article under Fair Use terms, please contact for takedown if required]


I’m willing to bet a pretty big percentage of people reading this have harboured the fantasy of being an astronaut, even though you knew it was a virtually unattainable dream. But sometimes dreams can come true by the least expected route possible… even when those dreams are not necessarily your own.

Jason Stoddard is no stranger to the pages of Futurismic or numerous other science fiction publications, both online and off – and with good reason. In “Willpower” he walks the talk of his own ‘Positive SF’ manifesto, balancing old-school optimism and sensawunda with a plausible (and far from utopian) future setting. Enjoy!


by Jason Stoddard

Michael Delgado needed something to do. Today. His last willfare job had ended last Friday, which meant tomorrow morning was contract breach. The foodcard would stop working, and the ever-efficient borgots of the Balboa Arms would be down to usher him out of his 300-square-foot studio apartment. Not that he’d miss it, with Van Nuys cranking to 105 today and him with only a swamp cooler.

He scanned quickly through the willfare crapwork and sinkers:


Dog walking, Cerritos area, 0.5D willfare credit (4 dogs, large, aggressive). ACCEPT >>

No way. Not for a half-day credit.


Street cleaning, crew of 16, Chinatown and surrounds, multiday contract. ACCEPT >>

(Currently 11 accepted)

Surrounds, as in southeast LA, no way.


Research assistant, UCLA medical campus, great status! Includes transpo and housing. Minimum 45-day contract (90 willfare creds), extensible to 90-days. Standard disclaimers. ACCEPT >>

And take a chance that the cancer they infect you with they might not be able to cure? Oh, no.

Michael Delgado frowned, the chant of the taxpayers echoing in his head. WE pay your salary, so you do what WE want. We want you to cut our grass, you get out here pronto! And Congress agreed. Needed for a smooth transition to a post-scarcity economy, they said. Allows them the dignity of productive work, they said. Gets them off the streets, they said. They who drove comfortably to jobs not-yet-outsourced in SUVs with large leases not-quite-paid.

And then:


Take my place on the Ares. 180 day contract. I’ll vouch for the full 720 willfare days, even if I have to pay ’em. I’m done. ACCEPT >>

Michael felt something like an electric shock as he eyeblinked on ACCEPT. Strange shivers worked up and down his spine. He heard something like a whisper, deep within his mind. He felt suddenly strong, powerful, alive.

Oh, no. Continue reading NEW FICTION: WILLPOWER by Jason Stoddard


Tom Doyle’s nasty new story “Consensus Building” takes on the commercialization of your head space.

[ IMPORTANT NOTICE: This story is NOT covered by the Creative Commons License that covers the majority of content on Futurismic; copyright remains with the author, and any redistribution is a breach thereof. Thanks. ]

Consensus Building

by Tom Doyle

Irena’s head chip woke her like a slow sunrise, a gradually rising voice cooing “good morning” inside her mind. Damn, two flaws already. The first was last night — too many weird dreams had interrupted her sleep. She would have noted the dreams in her alpha test journal, but this morning she couldn’t remember any of them. She must have chewed out her subconscious for shoddy work so it was giving her the silent treatment.

The second, more concrete flaw: she had specifically asked to be awakened with a sudden jolt. She detested the cloyingly sweet morning alarm that did not resemble her own thoughts. Maybe Will McRae in Design could fix it. Continue reading CONSENSUS BUILDING by Tom Doyle