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Monday, January 28, 2013

Epidermal Electronic Systems

rfid microchip rice grain

I heard about this identification system on the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technology mailing list. Instead of being subcutaneous like RFID implants, this electronic identification source is skin-like, kind of like the newer water proof bandaids that are transparent and really stick. The author of the article relates this to the potential for healthcare, but not without some caveats:
"There are some emergent ethical issues stemming from these technologies. I can already guess the EES system being potentially used to tag artificial organs and corporate patients in hospitals. Even now few of us would refuse if a hospital insisted on using an epidermal electronic tatoo patch on us for their patient inventory system. Informed consent has just taken on a whole new different set of meaning. However, the advantages far outweigh the fears of social discrimination and eugenic nightmares. Systems such as Epidermal Electronic devices could eventually help in timely drug delivery especially during medical emergencies. "
Yes, it does look like more patients might be happier to consent to wearing a device like this, as opposed to the more invasive RFID chip implant. Who could refuse?