In 1989, Walt Disney World Resort’s Epcot opened a simulator ride that drew widespread media attention. “Body Wars” was located in the Wonders of Life pavilion at the park, and it featured Mr. Spock, Leonard Nimoy, as the director of the 7-minute interactive experience.
Riders were shrunk down and placed into a ship to carry out a mission inside the human body. It may have taken more than 20 years, but a pair of Swiss scientists appear to have actually produced the science fiction of the ride minus shrinking humans to sub-particle size.
Why risk sending shrinking humans anyway, even it is was possible? In the ride, the body’s immune system attacks in the invaders. In reality, machines do a better job of tracking a patient’s vitals than a trip to the doctor’s office. Inserting a tiny chip under a person’s skin will allow doctors to monitor a patient’s health and predict possible disease ahead of time. This allows doctors to receive a continuous personalized report rather than a snapshot generalization based on age, weight or blood tests.
The half-inch chip transmits signals to a cell phone so that doctors may receive information from almost anywhere. The prototype of the chip has been tested to examine five different enzymes simultaneously. Researchers report that the device may first be used to help monitor patients with chronic illness or undergoing chemotherapy.
How long will until the technology spreads to general health monitoring? The researchers hope to make the chip commercially available within 4 years. Machines will monitor our vitals from birth—probably not too much later after that. Machines are wonderful at being available at all hours and monitoring subtle changes in data. The doctor is always on call, and what was once mere fantasy ride at a theme park seems like a glimpse into the near future.