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Fantastic Voyage Roundup

April 26, 2013

Researchers have developed medical implants that dissolve after they’ve done their job.



Microscopic medical implants. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

When electronic devices reach the end of their lives, we’re faced with the problem of disposing of them. That’s especially difficult when the device is implanted inside your body. For example, devices that monitor blood chemistry, or deliver medicines. Now, researchers at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign are designing medical implants that break down into harmless substances when their job is complete. The team is also working on disposable water quality monitors that could be tossed into lakes and streams, and other electronics that simply dissolve when their job is complete.

In other microelectronic news, scientists at UC-San Diego are developing microrockets and micromotors to power tiny devices through the body. The propulsion units use the acids, salts and other naturally-occurring compounds in the body as their fuel. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.