Biomonitoring will become more and more common as we move forward.  The feasibility of us interacting with our electronic environment via biosensors will allow more personalized interactions.  We already see personalized interactions with:

1. Websites that track our preferences and suggest information that is related to these preferences.

2. Pacemakers and defibrillators that can adjust pacing rates based upon activity and breathing.

3. Glucose monitors that automatically adjust insulin dosing based upon blood glucose levels.

Ford is investigating the use of leadless ECG monitoring system in the driver’s seat.  Though it is investigational, one can see the possibility of tracking a driver’s heart for use in several ways such as monitoring for stress response prior to accident, ischemia, bradycardia (or heart block), and arrhythmias (such as atrial fibrillation).  Interesting to think about the implications of this data and privacy issues.

See link below for more information:

http://medgadget.com/2011/05/ford-unveils-contactless-ecg-sensing-driver-seat.html

This editorial from the Journal of Biosensors and Bioelectronics is an interesting look into the future of implantable biosensors and personalized medicine. “With advances in biosensors, bioelectronics, telemetry and nanotechnology, the long-term implantable sensor chips can enable a real-time diagnosis of biological responses (bone and muscle regeneration or cell growth, proliferation and differentiation around the medical devices), implant-related complications (such as infection, inflammation or cardiovascular disease), and other common diseases (such as diabetes and cancer), and thus provide real-time treatment if it is needed.”

via OMICS Publishing Group | Full-text | Biosensors as Implantable Medical Devices for Personalized Medicine.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation recently awarded a $498,055 grant to Clemson University to test bracelets that can detect galvanic skin response (GSR) or skin conductance.  The goal of the study is to measure the engagement of students in class.  Sweat glands are controlled by the sympathetic nervous system so skin conductance can be used a measure of psychological or physiological arousal.  The link below describes an Arduino board to IPhone GSR sensor that can be built for benchtop testing.

Biosensing and Networked Performance | The Anthill Social.

Tan et al from the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Michigan Technological University developed implantable biosensors using soft and permanent magnets.  When a soft magnet was exposed to a magnetic field from a permanent magnet, secondary magnetic fields were created. Measuring changes in the magnetic fields allowed the researchers to quantify strain and pressure.  These types of sensors could be miniaturized and used for in-vivo, long-term strain/pressure monitoring.

See the following for more details:  http://www.mdpi.com/1424-8220/8/10/6396

A research group has reported a method to measure tissue oxygen content via O2 reduction at carbon paste electrodes CPEs using constant potential amperometry CPA.  This technology has been further refined to allow complete implantation (albeit, preclinical animal studies) and wireless telemetry of the data.  This technology has also been used to measure nitric oxide and glucose using similar electrodes.

For more information, see Characterisation of Carbon Paste Electrodes for Real-time Amperometric Monitoring of Brain Tissue Oxygen.

WiFi Medicine: Implantable Biosensors That Could E-mail Your Doctor | Science Not Fiction | Discover Magazine.

Artificial composites, metamaterials, can be used as implantable biosensors.  Silk is not only tough but is very compatible with most tissue surfaces in the human body.  This combined with highly conductive metals (such as gold, silver, and copper) can be tweaked on a nanoscale level and combined with other materials to respond to frequencies in the terahertz range. As it turns out, proteins in the body resonate at specific frequencies within the terahertz range, making them easy to identify with the right type of biosensors.

Your Next Prescription Might Be For A Microchip – Forbes.

Drug delivery via implantable biosensors is the next generation of devices that can be used to help heart rhythm disorders.  Our current implantable loop recorders allow us to track heart rhythm disorders and link symptoms to arrhythmias.  Implantable biosensors will combine this monitoring ability with automated drug delivery.