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Researchers Build Water Soluble Chips

Unknown Lamer posted about 2 years ago | from the not-dishwasher-safe dept.

Biotech 52

angry tapir writes "Researchers in the U.S. have developed integrated circuits that can stick to the skin like a child's tattoo and in some cases dissolve in water when they're no longer needed. The 'bio chips' can be worn comfortably on the body to help diagnose and treat illnesses. The circuits are so thin that when they're peeled away from the body they hang like a sliver of dead skin, with a tangle of fine wires visible under a microscope. Similar circuits could one day be wrapped around the heart like 'an electronic pericardium' to correct irregularities such as arrhythmia."

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Self heating tea? (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42248894)

Does this mean self heating food containers might be made biodegradable? :o

Do They Turn Black (2)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | about 2 years ago | (#42250002)

After your 30th birthday?

Re:Do They Turn Black (1)

Bieeanda (961632) | about 2 years ago | (#42254703)

Thirty? Oh fuck, I'm eight years late for Carousel!

Re:Do They Turn Black (1)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | about 2 years ago | (#42255305)

Lastday, Capricorn 29's. Year of the City: 2274. Carousel begins.
Be strong and you will be renewed. Identify.

I'm all for it. (4, Funny)

nospam007 (722110) | about 2 years ago | (#42248940)

"Similar circuits could one day be wrapped around the heart..."

As long as they make it look like bacon...

Re:I'm all for it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42250747)

And in other news, Foxconn workers fueled by a mysterious new drink have started popping out Zunes.

Re:I'm all for it. (1)

StuartHankins (1020819) | about 2 years ago | (#42251051)

So long as they remember to wipe, they can pop out all the Zunes they want. Those things are shit.

Do they actually do anything yet? (5, Insightful)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 2 years ago | (#42248970)

To show the technology, Rogers rolled up his sleeve during his talk and, using a microscope and an overhead projector, revealed a circuit stuck on his arm. It looked like a clear tattoo, with a spaghetti-like mass of wires embedded in the surface.

Right, nice, but is it a circuit that actually does something?

Re:Do they actually do anything yet? (4, Funny)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 2 years ago | (#42248994)

Right, nice, but is it a circuit that actually does something?

Yes, it communicates with the game console that is used to control his movements.

Re:Do they actually do anything yet? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42249114)

So you're saying game consoles are looking to take over the human market? :O

Re:Do they actually do anything yet? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42250172)

In Soviet Russia, game plays you!

Re:Do they actually do anything yet? (1)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | about 2 years ago | (#42254683)

So you're saying game consoles are looking to take over the human market? :O

What makes you think that hasn't already happened?

Re:Do they actually do anything yet? (2)

edibobb (113989) | about 2 years ago | (#42252087)

I was wondering the same thing. Where does it get power? How does it communicate? It's obviously a breakthrough, but a few "topics for further research" remain before they can use the applications mentioned in the article.

Sure it does! (1)

ThatsNotPudding (1045640) | about 2 years ago | (#42252635)

Right, nice, but is it a circuit that actually does something?

It broadcasts the message: "Drink More Ovaltine!".

Ah, another weapon (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 2 years ago | (#42248978)

Like stabbing somebody with an icicle.

The tin foil hatters will have a field day with this.

Re:Ah, another weapon (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42249424)

Do you honestly think the government funds this kind of research out of benevolence? Hell no, of course it doesn't.

Our government is all about control, and nothing more.

But, the American people are clamoring to be enslaved, as evidenced by the fact that Ron Paul did not win the election, despite #winning the popular vote (mostly because the voting machines were all programmed to cast his write-in votes for someone else).

It was obvious that Ron Paul would be the clear winner going into Nov 6, and TPTB and the big party bosses stole it from him.

But, he will be back. In 2016 the integrity of the election will be assured, and he will take his rightful place in the white house. Just wait and see.

Re:Ah, another weapon (1)

degeneratemonkey (1405019) | about 2 years ago | (#42251825)

Before you wander too far off into left field, you should probably know that the government funds this kind of research primarily because some geek in a lab has some good ideas and applies for a grant.

Soluble, eh? (-1, Offtopic)

girlintraining (1395911) | about 2 years ago | (#42249258)

Similar circuits could one day be wrapped around the heart like 'an electronic pericardium' to correct irregularities such as arrhythmia."

Soluble... That word, I do not think it means what you think it means. Well, it's a good thing the human body doesn't consist primarily of water. Also, slashdot: First you're down for several hours last night, and now your editors have apparently been outsourced to india and have only a tenuous grasp on the english language. Yes, go run to the dictionary, I can wait. As for the rest of you: Does anyone else think Dice has sucked so hard since acquiring the site they're in danger of forming an event horizon from which even a clue cannot escape?

Re:Soluble, eh? (3, Informative)

RaceProUK (1137575) | about 2 years ago | (#42249388)

Well, it's a good thing the human body doesn't consist primarily of water

Most of it is contained by cell membranes. Also, water's not the only solvent. And from the summary:

in some cases dissolve in water

Re:Soluble, eh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42249420)

You never heard of sweat then?

Re:Soluble, eh? (1)

RaceProUK (1137575) | about 2 years ago | (#42249436)

First word of my post: Most

Please wait five minutes and troll again.

Re:Soluble, eh? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42249518)

Yes, your semantics are perfect; however your comment is still completely irrelevant to the question of whether water-soluble skin-installed devices are workable, because of the existence of sweat, which your comment ignores. You may as well respond to a criticism of a building's earthquake safety by saying earthquakes mostly don't occur. Fucktard.

Sorry if you think everyone who disagrees with you is a "troll". Try getting off your high horse and using your brain more, then this kind of thing won't concern you, now, will it?

Re:Soluble, eh? (1)

RaceProUK (1137575) | about 2 years ago | (#42249604)

Quote from the summary:

in some cases dissolve in water

Which I also included in my original post.

Please wait five minutes and troll again.

Re:Soluble, eh? (1)

hey! (33014) | about 2 years ago | (#42250062)

I've never heard of a sweaty heart -- unless that's the name of a band.

Re:Soluble, eh? (1)

girlintraining (1395911) | about 2 years ago | (#42249948)

Most of it is contained by cell membranes. Also, water's not the only solvent. And from the summary:

I was making fun of the tragically amusing misleading headline less than the merely inaccurate summary.

Re:Soluble, eh? (1)

RaceProUK (1137575) | about 2 years ago | (#42250004)

Fair enough :)

Re:Soluble, eh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42249682)

Soluble....that word, I do not think it means what you think it means. Solubility is not a dichotomy, with complete solubility on one side and complete insolubility on the other. There are degrees of solubility, and the substrate the circuit is put on to can be chosen for its solution rate.

Offisive Racism (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42249852)

...and now your editors have apparently been outsourced to india and have only a tenuous grasp on the english language.

Your comment is racist and offensive. Most Indians actually have an exceptional grasp on the English language. For instance, they know to capitalise proper nouns like the names of countries or languages.

You seem somewhat lacking in your use of English, how's your Hindi?

Re:Offisive Racism (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42250897)

Capitalization is a very basic concept that is learned in elementary school. You clearly have a basic understanding of the English language, and were offended by the comment that you replied to.

The third sentence in your comment is a fragment, and the word capitalize is misspelled. The fourth sentence in your comment is a fragment, and should be broken into two sentences.

Re:Offisive Racism (1)

julesh (229690) | about 2 years ago | (#42274351)

The third sentence in your comment is a fragment, and the word capitalize is misspelled.

(S (PP For instance), (S (NP they) (VP know (PP to (NP capitalise)) (SBAR (S (NP proper nouns) (VP like (NP (NP the names) (PP of (NP (NP countries) or (NP languages)))))))))

The 'S' in the outermost level indicates a complete sentence. Try it yourself here [cmu.edu] and get better formatting (doesn't get past slashdot's damned lameness filters with the whitespace required...).

Re:Soluble, eh? (2)

hey! (33014) | about 2 years ago | (#42250090)

Once you've developed a soluble circuit, the rate at which it dissolves is no doubt a parameter that can be tweaked to yield the desired lifetime.

The fact that the circuit dissovles away is a *feature*, as in soluble sutures. We can already implant electronic circuits in the human body, but I believe the idea is to create circuits you don't need to remove with a second round of surgery.

Re:Soluble, eh? (1)

marcello_dl (667940) | about 2 years ago | (#42251675)

I see a dissolving circuit very problematic, you have to shut it down in a way that no interference with the heart is performed during dissolution. Stem cell therapy seems easier :)

Re:Soluble, eh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42252607)

Just design it to out-live the intended use window. For example: patient is scheduled for 2 weeks of monitoring, calibrate the circuit to dissolve in 4 weeks, then at the last monitoring session send the shut down command and let the thing sit inert for a couple weeks while it dissolves. Much less invasive than having to remove the implant, and no need to worry about it failing early (at least no more than any other implanted circuit).

Re:Soluble, eh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42250869)

I know rtfa is taboo, but now we don't even rtfS? "and in some cases dissolve in water when they're no longer needed." So medical circuitry that could work for some time, then when it was no longer needed start to dissolve and get flushed out of the system instead of another surgery to remove it.

Re:Soluble, eh? (1)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | about 2 years ago | (#42254715)

Similar circuits could one day be wrapped around the heart like 'an electronic pericardium' to correct irregularities such as arrhythmia."

Soluble... That word, I do not think it means what you think it means. Well, it's a good thing the human body doesn't consist primarily of water.

soluble
/sälybl/
Adjective

(of a substance) Able to be dissolved, esp. in water: "the poison is soluble in alcohol".

"Researchers in the U.S. have developed integrated circuits that can stick to the skin like a child's tattoo and in some cases dissolve in water when they're no longer needed.

Seems like it's used properly to me.

Pacemakers are less intrusive indeed (5, Insightful)

Herve5 (879674) | about 2 years ago | (#42249450)

"Similar circuits could one day be wrapped around the heart like 'an electronic pericardium' to correct irregularities such as arrhythmia."

Ok, once in place, I agree this is less intrusive than nowaday's pacemakers. And potentially more precise than their single electrode pair.

But if in order to get there you have to actually reach the heart to wrap them around, this, is catastrophically intrusive. This alone would be a no-go compared to the current pacemaker installation (through veins, basically a benign operation)

Like in many articles today, the idea and design are great, but authors feel compelled to add in the end a dreamy and ridiculous future application that basically spoils the paper.
I still think the affair is good. But now I also think the author is not really serious.

Re:Pacemakers are less intrusive indeed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42249676)

What makes you think it couldn't be rolled up and transported through the vein with the assistance of a microscopic robot? Perhaps you just have a lack of imagination...

Re:Pacemakers are less intrusive indeed (1)

jimbolauski (882977) | about 2 years ago | (#42249784)

I doubt these microscopic robots would be reusable so wouldn't they make more sense to just leave the robots in the heart, you can skip the whole temporary tattoo circuit step. Further unless the circuits are flexible and can stretch without disbonding from the heart they will not work. Temporary motoring of surgical sites organ transplants or other trauma seems like the best application for these.

Re:Pacemakers are less intrusive indeed (4, Insightful)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 2 years ago | (#42250086)

I'm not a cardiologist, but I do wonder if there might be any significent number of hearts too badly damaged for a conventional pacemaker, but for which this implant-wrap could do the job. Intrusive it may be, but if the alternative is a heart transplant, the wrap wins.

Re:Pacemakers are less intrusive indeed (3, Interesting)

unkiereamus (1061340) | about 2 years ago | (#42250493)

This is speculation, but I'm betting this has less of an application for pacemaking than it does for correcting a conduction induced arrhythmia.

Under normal circumstances, an electrical impulse is generated in the SA node at the top of the heart, then spreads through a defined path, first inervating the atria, a quick stop in the AV node which slows the conduction down for half a beat (haha, I'm so funny.), then continues down to activate the ventricles.

Heart attacks kill muscle, and one of the big effects of that, aside from the loss of contractile force, is the fact that dead muscle doesn't conduct very well, so the electical impulse will start doing all sorts of interesting things to route around the problem, which can lead to the ventricles and atria firing in odd sequences.

This circuit could potentially provide a new route for the impulse which would more closely mimic the original path, and restore a normal(ish) rhythm.

Extending further out into speculation land, it's possible that with very precise control, and a reasonably powerful computer running the thing, you could correct atrial fibrillation, which would be all sorts of good.

Finally, as to the implantation, I know that people are starting to do endoscopic Coronary Artery Bypass Grafts, which means that it's possible to work inside the pericardial sac without cracking the chest, I see no real reason that applying this circuitry couldn't be performed in the same way. Yes it's still going to knock people down for longer than a pacemaker implant will, but then, it's doing way more than a pacemaker does.

Sprinkling surveillance (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42249506)

I wonder when it becomes feasible to have surveillance (mic and or camera) so small it can be sprinkled, and when you don't need it anymore it simply dissolves.

It always sells as a health benefiting technology (2)

dragisha (788) | about 2 years ago | (#42249562)

While in fact espionage is what pays for it :).

We can only hope health care improvements will be at least a side-effect.

Re:It always sells as a health benefiting technolo (1)

sixtyeight (844265) | about 2 years ago | (#42249724)

That occurred to me as well.

Perhaps people will get their governments under control, so that the People decide what gets researched... and the government must settle for the scraps.

Re:It always sells as a health benefiting technolo (2)

dragisha (788) | about 2 years ago | (#42249812)

Two words - better education.

If People are not educated, decisions are made by mainstream media propaganda.

Re:It always sells as a health benefiting technolo (1)

sixtyeight (844265) | about 2 years ago | (#42249888)

I'm not sure it's prudent to wait on the primary beneficiary of a poor educational system to overhaul that system.

A good education can be had by researching online, but the value of this is regularly naysaid by internet trolls. Counterintuitively, the public seem to put much stock in their opinion of it. The result is that "everyone knows" information cannot be trusted, simply because it can be found predominantly online.

What a showman (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about 2 years ago | (#42249910)

As a veteran of boring science conferences, I love that to make his point "he produced and then ate a tiny RF oscillator 5 millimeters across."

Re:What a showman (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 2 years ago | (#42250130)

Still no Warrick though.

agreed (1)

grenadeh (2734161) | about 2 years ago | (#42250126)

Hey look more bad news. Cool. Like Dragisha said, for those of us who don't get oppressed by this, maybe we can hope for some societal advancement when all the internment camps are liberated.

Where's the Christian conspiracy theorists? (1)

Jellodyne (1876378) | about 2 years ago | (#42250809)

In before "Mark of the Beast"

Talking tattoos! (1)

zarmanto (884704) | about 2 years ago | (#42250913)

It seems to me that this is just a few more minor discoveries away from Amy's talking tattoo [theinfosphere.org] . I mean, the medical applications may be important and all, but come on; I'm sure everyone here knows that practicality isn't really what drives innovation...

What's this about water soluble ships? (2)

stevegee58 (1179505) | about 2 years ago | (#42250959)

What? Oh, never mind.

Luddites abound! (0)

degeneratemonkey (1405019) | about 2 years ago | (#42251873)

It amazes me to see the amount of FUD /. readers are willing to indulge in the face of new technology. Yes, it sounds a lot like some terrible thing you learned to fear from reading sci-fi novels or something. Oooohohhhhhhh. Might as well quote the Bible while you're at it.

It ain't oppression until it's oppression. As of this moment, it's a cool toy.
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