World’s Smallest Implantable Chip Can Monitor Medical Conditions

by : Niamh Shackleton on : 15 May 2021 18:25
Columbia UniversityColumbia University

The world’s smallest implantable chip that can monitor people’s medical conditions has been created.

Before you start thinking Bill Gates really did create a chip to put in people, this innovative chip was created by engineers at Colombia University, New York, and doesn’t have anything to do with the tech mogul.


Apparently the chip will be able to do an array of things, in addition to monitoring people’s medical conditions.

According to the university, it will be able to support and enhance physiological functions and treat diseases which will overall improve the patient’s quality of life.

Tiny microchip made at Columbia UniCHEN SHI/COLUMBIA ENGINEERING

Some of the physical conditions it’s hoped to be able to monitor include temperature, blood pressure, glucose, and respiration for both diagnostic and therapeutic procedures.


The total volume of the chip is less than 0.1 mm3  – around the same size as a dust mite – and therefore is only visible through a microscope. The researchers, whose study was published on May 7, used ultrasound power to communicate with the device wirelessly.

The study’s leader Ken Shepard, Lau Family professor of electrical engineering and professor of biomedical engineering, said in a university press release:

We wanted to see how far we could push the limits on how small a functioning chip we could make. This is a new idea of ‘chip as system’—this is a chip that alone, with nothing else, is a complete functioning electronic system.

This should be revolutionary for developing wireless, miniaturized implantable medical devices that can sense different things, be used in clinical applications, and eventually approved for human use.

Close up of microchip PexelsPexels

The design of the chip is said to have been done by doctoral student Chen Shi before it was fabricated at the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company with additional process modifications performed in the Columbia Nano Initiative cleanroom and the City University of New York Advanced Science Research Center (ASRC) Nanofabrication Facility, the release explained.

The current models only measure body temperature, but there are ‘many more possibilities’ the team are working on.

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Niamh Shackleton

Niamh Shackleton is a pint sized person and journalist at UNILAD. After studying Multimedia Journalism at the University of Salford, she did a year at Caters News Agency as a features writer in Birmingham before deciding that Manchester is (arguably) one of the best places in the world, and therefore moved back up north. She's also UNILAD's unofficial crazy animal lady.

Topics: Health, New York, Now, Technology


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    Tiny, Wireless, Injectable Chips Use Ultrasound to Monitor Body Processes