Documenting the Coming Singularity

Monday, February 09, 2009

Ready for Wi-Rx? - Wireless drug control - February 6 2009

Electronic implants that dispense medicines automatically or via a wireless medical network are on the horizon. Australian and US researchers warn of the security risks in a forthcoming issue of the International Journal of Biomedical Engineering and Technology.

With the advent of personalized medicine, advances in diagnostics and the miniaturization of sensors and control systems for delivering drugs automatically, the Remote Intelligent Drug Delivery System (RIDDS) may soon be a reality. Such devices, implanted under the skin, would remove the inconvenience of manual drug delivery. By connecting a RIDDS to a wireless medical control centre wirelessly patients with physical disabilities, learning difficulties, or who are otherwise unable to give themselves medication could benefit.

RIDDS device will have inbuilt sensors to monitor biomarkers of a patient's symptoms, pulse rate, or blood oxygen levels, for instance. Wireless control will allow healthcare workers to monitor the patient's health as well as device behavior. They could adjust medication frequency or levels as necessary based either on direct patient observation or sensor outputs. However, one aspect of RIDDS deployment that is yet to be addressed is security.

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