This post is part of the A to Z Challenge, in which each day of April a post is made inspired by a letter of the alphabet. Each post will be related to the research done on upcoming trends for the near-future techothriller series Shadow Decade.
And I’m not talking about the saline kind.
Advances in medical technology go beyond drugs and procedures to, occasionally, involve foreign objects being surgically inserted into patients. From pins in the hips to artificial organs, we’re often left with more than we enter the hospital with. A big change is coming as technology is reaching the point where these replacement parts are becoming better than the ones we were born with.
Prototype bionic eyes are already in trials, though the resolution was initially very low. Within the next few years, they’ll be sophisticated enough to allow their owners to read large print and recognize faces. Quality will improve rapidly in the decades that follow.
We’re also in human trials for brain prosthesis to improve memory and bypass damaged areas of the brain for sufferers of Alzheimer’s, stroke, or other injury. Electrodes record normal electrical patterns in the brain, then predict what the damaged portions should be doing. The technology is still in its infancy, but is expected to be a common medical procedure by the early 2020s.
A third sort of implant in development makes use of wireless technology to transmit medical data about its owner in case of emergency. These subdermal micro-labs reside just below the skin and monitor a patient’s blood for levels of given substances. This is of particular interest to diabetics, but for patients with heart disease can provide several hours warning before an incident.