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Electronics That Fight Infection and Dissolve Away (darpa.mil)
33 points by ari_elle 1607 days ago | hide | past | web | 2 comments | favorite

Funny, my initial assumption before reading the article was that it was going to be something nano-scale.

Also, the article is focussing solely on the "this stuff dissolves in water and is bio-compatible" part of the equation, pretty much ignoring the "fight infection" part.

So I'm guessing that this is just a proof-of-concept of the "electronics that dissolve in the human body without killing you" part of a complete solution (which is very cool, don't get me wrong...). If so, is the fighting infection part a solved or trivial problem? I'm trying to figure out how a chip inserted into a single point in a body fights infection.

The article is based on a paper behind paywall at the Science website[0], whose abstract states that their proof of concept application is "an implantable transient device that acts as a programmable nonantibiotic bacteriocide".

So the problem is solved, but you'll have to pay to get the details. Here's the abstract:

> A Physically Transient Form of Silicon Electronics

> Suk-Won Hwang, Hu Tao, Dae-Hyeong Kim, Huanyu Cheng, Jun-Kyul Song, Elliott Rill1, Mark A. Brenckle, Bruce Panilaitis, Sang Min Won, Yun-Soung Kim, Young Min Song, Ki Jun Yu, Abid Ameen, Rui Li, Yewang Su, Miaomiao Yang, David L. Kaplan, Mitchell R. Zakin, Marvin J. Slepian, Yonggang Huang, Fiorenzo G. Omenetto, John A. Rogers

> A remarkable feature of modern silicon electronics is its ability to remain physically invariant, almost indefinitely for practical purposes. Although this characteristic is a hallmark of applications of integrated circuits that exist today, there might be opportunities for systems that offer the opposite behavior, such as implantable devices that function for medically useful time frames but then completely disappear via resorption by the body. We report a set of materials, manufacturing schemes, device components, and theoretical design tools for a silicon-based complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) technology that has this type of transient behavior, together with integrated sensors, actuators, power supply systems, and wireless control strategies. An implantable transient device that acts as a programmable nonantibiotic bacteriocide provides a system-level example.


0. http://www.sciencemag.org/content/337/6102/1640.abstract

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