Having the ability to track a person's health status from afar would have huge ramifications for the medical community. Are patients ready for such a device?
The National Science Foundation is funding a fellowship grant for a team of graduate students who are developing a body antenna for medical purposes. The team has partnered with researchers from the National Research Foundation in South Korea to develop an antenna that uses an ultra-high frequency emitter that's built into a RFID chip to send track a patient's status in real time, according to the Washington Free-Beacon.
Such an antenna could have monumental implications for the medical field.
"Antennas operating near or inside the human body are important for a number of applications, including healthcare," according to the project's grant. "Implantable medical devices such as cardiac pacemakers and retinal implants are a growing feature of modern healthcare, and implantable antennas for these devices are necessary to monitor battery level and device health, to upload and download data used in patient monitoring, and more." The grant also noted that such technology could be used for biometric verification.
The RFIDs in question would be implanted underneath the patient's skin and would only be implanted into patients who require long-term tracking.
The NSF funding will be used to cover the costs of sending graduate students overseas to work with Korean researchers for an eight-week period. The graduate students will "gain valuable research experience, [as well as] experience working and collaborating in a foreign country, and they [will] bring back all this knowledge to the U.S.," said NSF public relations specialist Jessica Arriens.
The NSF fellowship will begin on June 1.