Putting electronics in our body, so that it circulates together with the red blood cells in order to measure or treat a problem, is something increasingly desirable in the world of medicine.
There are implants that track oxygen levels in body tissues, and sensors that monitor nerve signals in real time, but now, from Columbia Engineers, they have introduced the world’s smallest single chip, a fully functional electronic circuit with a total volume less than 0.1 mm3.
It is as small as a dust mite. In the image you can see it inside the channel of a syringe. It measures 0.3 mm on each side, like a small cube, a true jewel of technology if we consider that in addition to intelligence it must have a system to obtain energy.
Radio frequency modules cannot be used at that size, as these wavelengths are too long to be used with such a small device. That is why this chip works with ultrasound. The team incorporated a piezoelectric transducer that acts as an “antenna” for wireless power and communication via ultrasound.
It also has a low-power temperature sensor, which allows monitoring of body temperature and temperature fluctuations.
At the moment it has been demonstrated in live mice, where it was used for ultrasound neurostimulation, being possible to implant seven chips at the same time with an intramuscular injection.
This type of chips can be implanted in the human body and communicate to the outside what they are measuring, including blood pressure, glucose levels and respiratory function, although for the moment it is limited to temperature.
More information in advances.sciencemag.org