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Scientific Discovery and the Future of Medicine
February 10, 2015

Electronics for the Human Body

Author Affiliations
  • 1Departments of Bioengineering, Materials Science and Engineering, Mechanical Science and Engineering, Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Chemistry, University of Illinois, Urbana
JAMA. 2015;313(6):561-562. doi:10.1001/jama.2014.17915

The human body is soft, curvilinear, and continuously evolving; modern electronic devices are rigid, planar, and physically static. Recent research has yielded a complete set of advanced materials, manufacturing approaches, and design layouts that eliminates this profound mismatch in properties. The resulting devices can intimately integrate onto or into the human body for diagnostic, therapeutic, or surgical function with important unique capabilities in biomedical research and clinical medicine. These emerging technologies have strong potential to improve human health and to enhance the understanding of living systems. They fall into 3 categories—soft, injectable, and bioreabsorbable electronics—each demonstrated in extensive animal studies and several in initial human trials. The Figure presents images of bioelectronic devices.

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