The development of a blood-oxygen sensor (that clips onto your finger) eliminated the need for costly, risky, time-consuming invasive measurements that required drawing of blood and provided accurate results in real-time. Modern optoelectronics technologies have made “medicine” much more accessible, quicker, and safer.
However, the blood-oxygen sensor can only measure oxygen saturation in the circulatory system below the skin. Doctors may need to monitor that oxygen parameter deep inside the body to assess the health of transplanted organs or tissue to provide an early warning of potential transplant failure, for example.
Now, researchers have created a tiny, non-RF wireless implant. It can provide real-time measurements of tissue oxygen-saturation levels deep underneath the skin to solve this sensing problem. The device has a volume of just 4.5 mm3 (critical for injectable implants). It derives power from ultrasound energy waves. The entire implant manufacturing took place with standard medical-implant processes, despite its array of component types.
It is expected to be the first in a series of miniaturized sensors to track other important biochemical markers in the body, such as pH or carbon dioxide (CO2). The device demonstrates how, by combining ultrasound technology with a very clever integrated-circuit design, sophisticated implants that go very deep into the tissue to collect data from organs can be created.
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