Researchers have developed a new way to power and communicate with devices implanted deep within the human body. Such devices could be used to deliver drugs, monitor conditions inside the body, or treat disease by stimulating the brain with electricity or light.

The implants are powered by RF waves, which can safely pass through human tissue. In tests with animals, the researchers showed that the waves can power devices located 10 centimeters deep in tissue, from a distance of 1 meter. Because they do not require a battery, the devices can be tiny. In this study, the researchers tested a prototype about the size of a grain of rice, but they anticipate that it could be made even smaller.

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MIT researchers, working with scientists from Brigham and Women’s Hospital, have developed a new way to power and communicate with devices implanted deep within the human body. (Image: courtesy of the researchers)