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This content is part of the Essential Guide: A guide to healthcare IoT possibilities and obstacles
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My connected body: The future of IoT in healthcare

This year we will see more and more experiments where internet of things devices enter the human body for diagnosis and for treatment. With advancements in IoT in healthcare and miniaturization, along with leaps in IoT innovation, we are embarking on a journey of personal uber-connectivity that will spark many debates: tech implants in the human body.

I have always been fascinated with movies that show humans shrinking to microscopic size; like the 1966 sci-fi movie Fantastic Voyage. In the film, a submarine with a small crew is shrunken and injected into the bloodstream of a dying man. While this might have been seen at the time more like a psychedelic dream, nowadays it is closer to reality.

We are seeing more experimentation with IoT entering the body. Medical IoT implants can detect disease, manage pain, or even decode signals from the brain and relay them to other parts of the body to possibly cure paralysis.

IoT in healthcare

Here are three other trends I see for IoT in healthcare and the connected body:

1. Implant communication

Medical devices with embedded IoT make direct communication with the implants possible. Pacemakers already have that capability, but ongoing advancements now allow for direct interaction with the neural network, opening up a whole world of possibilities. There was an experiment where a paralyzed monkey gets a brain implant that communicates with a computer, which decodes brain signals to move and sends the proper instructions to his lumbar spine. This type of experiment is now at the animal stage, but my gut feeling is that this will quickly evolve to human experiments.

2. IoT vs. Alzheimer’s

Another interesting area is the idea to fight Alzheimer’s, where the loss of memory will be compensated with uploading your thoughts to a computer.

Where will this leave us? Well for one the security debate will flame up, like in Homeland where someone was assassinated by hacking his pacemaker. And once we start fiddling with our brains, we will see serious debates popping up suggesting that we are creating something like the cybernetic Borgs in Star Trek (“Resistance is futile.” “You will be assimilated.”).

3. Bio-hacking

This trend will continue to spark debate, as some people are putting technology into their bodies for other than medical reasons. This has already been done for years with animals — dogs and cats get RFID chips for tracking. For humans, this is more a convenience (or personal style statement) than anything else. Near field communication digital wallet chips inserted into the body make it so you don’t have to carry credit cards around anymore. Other recent experiments include people embedding LED lights under the skin to light up their tattoos.

Although some of the medical innovations for IoT in healthcare are still decades away from mass adoption, I do see the potential of a new divide in society. Starting from a division of “haves and have nots,” we may be evolving into a society that is divided by something that I would call the “enabled versus the unaltered.”

All IoT Agenda network contributors are responsible for the content and accuracy of their posts. Opinions are of the writers and do not necessarily convey the thoughts of IoT Agenda.

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What are your thoughts on Google's Compute Engine? Will you use it?
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Skipping windows is no problem as we didn't want to pay the expensive licensing fees and take a chance at getting malware with that system anyway. Google is leading the way in the industry by focusing on the universal operating system as opposed to windows.
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Microsoft's holistic approach to the Cloud is a real advantage over AWS and Google
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Good information
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IaaS is the future, bottom line.
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strong player, healthy competition
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interesting feature
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Expect some unique features from google
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I want more choice!
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ya it is very intersting and know what they do well in this feature
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Linux is the only platform needed. If there is someone who needs a Windows application, let them try WINE, or try porting their application to a reasonable system.
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I want to choose from a wider array of linux distros... mostly minimal installs of debian would suit me!
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Lack of initial Windows support will play a factor in adoption.
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Tell me more about Google's Compute Engine.
here my id: kiran.sysprogrammer@gmail.com
I'm a Cloud computing freak.
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Great Technology from Google! Anyone preparing lawsuit against Google's IaaS ?? :-p #boycottapple
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We are a startup and would like to explore this option
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It really scales to Super compute on Iaas which is a challenge
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It is interesting to know Google's announcement in IaaS space. Three big players competing in the field will make the features rich and driver enterprises to give more serious thought to implement.
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Google is a good competitor for this growing market.
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Google is known to create trends and not sure if Google is trying to hint towards Open Source as the way to go as a Platform of choice. Would have been even better if they would have supported more Open Source OS's.
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Work from any where too collect data, no need of recalculations..
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Good for Linux based computing
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Need to know the technology
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as google compute engine supports all open source os it becomes easy for start-up companies which are bounded to open source os to deploy their server boxes onto google compute engine . ALso google who are first to adapt new technologies in the area of big data can easily handle such criterion.
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The pricing and easy configuration will be a factor
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