Credit: CHEN SHI/COLUMBIA ENGINEERING
Engineers at Columbia University have created a tiny, wireless and implantable chip that can monitor people’s health conditions.
It’s so tiny that it fits on the tip of a small needle.
Medical implants have been in use for a long time now. But researchers and scientists have tried to come up with smaller and more efficient implants every year. With this one, scientists may have finally achieved what they have been trying for years.
The device is claimed to be the world’s smallest single-chip that is an entire functioning electronic unit. According to the researchers of Colombia University, it will be able to support and enhance physiological functions and also treat diseases, which can lead to the overall improvement of a patient’s quality of life.
Physical conditions the chip will be able to monitor are temperature, blood pressure, glucose, and respiration for both diagnostic and therapeutic procedures.
The chip, which is less than 0.1 mm3, is reportedly only visible under a microscope, the same size as a dust mite.
The researchers said they used ultrasound power to connect with the device wirelessly. Ken Shepard, the head of the study, said in a press release his team wanted to ‘push the limits on how small a ‘functioning chip’ could be made.
“We wanted to see how far we could push the limits on how small a functioning chip we could make. This is a new idea of ‘chip as system’—this is a chip that alone, with nothing else, is a complete functioning electronic system,” Shepard, who is a Lau Family professor of electrical engineering and professor of biomedical engineering, said.
“This should be revolutionary for developing wireless, miniaturized implantable medical devices that can sense different things, be used in clinical applications, and eventually approved for human use,” he added.
The chip was designed by a doctoral student named Chen Shi and fabricated at Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company.
After that, it received additional modifications in the Columbia Nano Initiative cleanroom and the City University of New York Advanced Science Research Center (ASRC) Nanofabrication Facility, according to a press release.