The new single-chip electronic circuit is so tiny that it can be injected with a medical syringe - and receive body temperature data via ultrasonic wireless communication.
Electronic implants can be an important tool for medical monitoring and treatment. Therefore, the developers strive to make them not only "smart", but also biocompatible and as compact as possible - such as a device for synchronizing a heart rate the size of a grain of rice.
However, a new development by Columbia University engineers sets a new record in this area. In an article published in the journal Science Advances, they presented a working "system on a chip" that can simply be injected into the body. In a volume of less than 0.1 cubic millimeter, it was possible to accommodate a complete system for measuring temperature and wireless transmission of collected data.
Such systems combine all the necessary components in a single electronic circuit. However, this one is so tiny that the antenna that can be placed “on board” is less than the length of radio waves. Therefore, it uses ultrasound for communication, registering and sending signals using its own piezoelectric element. In addition, a temperature sensor is located here, information from which is transmitted in the same way.
The efficiency of the entire system was demonstrated on laboratory mice, and the animals were injected intramuscularly with up to seven such "thermometers". In other experiments, the device has been successfully used for pinpoint stimulation of neurons using an ultrasound signal. In the future, the study authors hope to create similar ones for recording blood pressure, glucose and oxygen saturation.