Under skin microchips and brain implants are making science fiction technology a reality

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Implants under your skin that can store all of your important data? Stuff of science fiction surely?! Well, current technology shows that we are a lot closer than you might think.

First of all; think about just how much of your life is now stored on your smartphone. Imagine even 20 years ago explaining that you would be able to save a library’s worth of books, all of your credit cards, video access to anyone in the world, access to almost every song ever written, all in your pocket. So it is completely feasible to store a huge amount of data on your person as we are all doing it every day already.

But what is the next logical step? Well, a number of individuals are taking this concept to its extreme. As reported in the Wall Street Journal, there are several examples of people implanting electronic devices under the skin. These self-styled “body hackers” have used the RFID (radio frequency identification technology) implants for a variety of tasks including; opening doors with access panels and checking into flights.

So if microchips under the skin are already with us, what could the future hold? The answer to that question could well be even further into the realms of science fiction – the brain implant. This technology is clearly still in its infancy but perhaps not as much as you might think.

Take the example of Ian Burkhart, a man from Ohio who regained control of his hand and fingers after being paralysed from the neck down. This was done by a pioneering laboratory test that involved a “neural bypass” or put simply, inserting a computer chip into his brain. The result being that Ian can pour a drink or even play Guitar Hero with his thoughts alone.

This technology is still strictly confined to a laboratory setting but shows much promise.

The above is not an isolated example either. A professor from Southern California has developed a brain implant to help improve short and long-term memory. His company – Kernel – has already started testing with epilepsy sufferers with “good initial results”.

Elon Musk, the genius entrepreneur behind Tesla and SpaceX has also entered the space(pardon the pun) with the launch of his new company Neuralink. Early reports. suggest that this company will investigate “merging the human brain with AI” with the goal of treating serious brain diseases.

One thing is for sure, this is a fascinating area of technology that will be worth watching very closely over the next few years.

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