At a recent think tank of global industry leaders were recently interviewed by the World Economic Forum. Their answers to this survey give the rest of us mere mortals a glimpse into our global society’s technological future.
It’s not really a stretch to imagine. We already have devices connected to the Internet through wireless technology, 3D printing of human tissue, and artificial intelligence (AI).
Many world tech leaders describe this as the coming of the “Second Machine Age”. In the Industrial Age, inventions like the steam engine and machinery for factories gave humans muscle power. The second Machine age gives humans brain power through the massive advances that computing has to offer.
Phones already have accelerometers, devices that measure movements and forces. An accelerometer could contain piezoelectric crystals and could be attached to the jawbone. The device would detect movement as a person opens and closes their jaw. When your head moves, your jaw moves, too, so the implant would also detect head movements by using the piezoelectric crystals that change shape in response to electric pulses.
The person would have to learn certain head and jaw movements to control the phone’s operation. Gestures would relate to keypad numbers 1, 2, 3 and so on. It would work kind of like sign language does.
The gesture would create an impulse that would be sent to the implant’s microprocessor unit, which would be implanted behind the ear. Make 10 gestures, dial 10 numbers, and the radiofrequency transmitter behind the ear would send the data just like it does now on an ordinary cell phone. The speaker would provide the audible signal to the ear; it would fit inside the ear canal and stimulate the eardrum.
Other design concepts involve implanting the cell phone in your arm. Several companies are investigating whether the ways we currently interface with all of our gadgets could still be done if the gadget was implanted underneath human tissue. They’ve found that touch sensors, LED displays and buttons all work great in cadaver studies.
There are issues to be sure, such as infections caused by the devices, or having to remove the device by surgical means if there is a malfunction. There are also societal problems that arise when people are able to be tracked everywhere they go.
Experts say embeddable “phones” or devices that are implanted in the body that use wireless technology could be commercially available by 2023.