Quick, I Need Some WiFi To Take My Medicine

from the wireless-drugs dept

The latest attempt at improving modern medicine is apparently an implanted microchip that can be controlled wirelessly from outside the body to release medicine into someone’s bloodstream. The system is supposedly more advanced that other internal drug delivery systems, in that it can be controlled from outside the body using some form of wireless connection. The idea is that the system could better monitor what’s actually going on inside the body, and releases doses accordingly, rather than the slightly less scientific method of “take two of these, and call me in the morning.” Of course, the opening of the article discusses the wireless connection on the device, but it’s not entirely clear from the rest of the article what it does or how it works. Still, if there were fears a few years ago that hackers could hack your pacemaker, just imagine what they could do if they could control what medicines were released in your body.

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Comments on “Quick, I Need Some WiFi To Take My Medicine”

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dorpus says:

New classes of treatments

Many promising anti-cancer drugs, heart drugs, etc. have not been marketable because the regimen is too complicated. Other drugs are great when injected intravenously, but nobody wants to go to the clinic to get shots every day.

So what’s with the cosmetic change to techdirt that has worsened it? The functionality is the same as before (no images, no auto-linking, no editing), and the icons used are duller than before.

Your bleeding edge needs to be sewed back up.

discojohnson says:

hacking? joking, right?

i think the hacking bit is easily remedied by using a 256bit encryption system or something crazy. hack proof? no. but it would prevent people from just spewing out random bits and expecting someone to keel over. i think the same person that would try and kill a random person who’s using this technology would probably just as well drop something into a stranger’s drink.

thecaptain says:

Re: hacking? joking, right?

Not really.

For someone to drop something in a stranger’s drink, they actually have to be there and there’s a huge risk with being caught.

This kind of (hypothetical) hack, wouldn’t really require ANY physical proximity, wouldn’t require anyone doing anything suspicious (ie: playing on a laptop in a cafe or bar vs fiddling with a drink).

Also, it would be the kind of thing some hackers would do “just for fun” or “it was a joke man…I didn’t know he’d DIE” type of thing (Ironically, the same loser mentality from the kiddies who cut n’ paste virus code and release it in the wild).

DraXxuS says:

WiFi way of... never mind

Some people may have complicated drug regimens, but come on, WiFi/Cell technology?? I’m sure if someone takes their condition seriously they will take what a doc gives them.

The wireless administration method raises too many ethical and moral questions. Who’s responsible if something goes wrong? A computer? The drug will be stored en mass in the body, what if it fails? Hacking is improbable, but a virus anywhere along the link between administrator and patient would be disasterous!

XoRd says:

Good Thought! But....

A device that could “give me” my medicine without me having to remember and actually take it is a quite nice concept.

But controling it with WiFi?!?!?! Come on!

Maybe another more secure way like a very small range of 20cm with a very good encryption as this might be controling Life & Death situations and know that only your Doctor can “mess” with the device.

Trikein says:

So far I am seeing a lot of ignorant comment about this, but I guess that is expected since the “story” is pretty damn misleading. Wifi would never be used, because it’s too energy draining. What would probably be used is a small bit rate, low frequency, short distance transceiver. Encryption and the short ranges involved would make hacking pretty much impossible. Or at least impossible enough to not make it worth it. Also no where in the article does it mention the exterior device would be connected to any other device, so a “virus” would also be unlikely, though a virus probably would be used anyway, but rather a trojan. The exterior device could probably, and would probably, be programmed by a doctor and worn near the internal device. All we are talking about is taking a technology that already exists(for some extreme diabetics and people with certain diseases) and just remove the hard connection between the two devices. I am somewhat frustrated that Techdirt would fall prey to such scare tactics used in the Enquire and your local news stations. Oi vey.

Marc says:

I wouldn’t be so worried about the hacking, like Trikein said, it’s not wifi and someone would have to be really close to hack the person. I’d be more worried about the system malfunctioning or crashing and dumping all the meds in me at once. Computers are notoriously unstable what kind of redundancy system could they put in to protect the patient from something like that? I’m sure there’s a way, but I’d want to know what it was and how it worked before I let someone put something like that in me!

DV Henkel-Wallace says:

Only part of how things are going

Devices that can be manipulated remotely like this are a pretty good idea, and are currently somewhat “hot” in the biodevices space, but there are a some more interesting directions the work is going. One is to have the body power the device — very cool. Another is to have some authentication built in, but right now the power requirements are so tight (and so minimal — you don’t want excess heat inside the body anyway) that the computation to do this is not available. The most interesting is to implant drug systems that react to the body’s condition and select themselves how much drug to give. After all, that’s how your body works anyway.

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