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Photo via USC/Center for Body Computing/Leslie Saxon
Photo via USC/Center for Body Computing/Leslie Saxon

Wearables, especially with the new Apple Watch staring us down, are all the rage. But one doctor at South By Southwest this week discussed the next step of implants — and why that technology will benefit us.

In this Q&A with Popular Science, Dr. Leslie Saxon, a cardiologist and director of the Center for Body Computing at the University of Southern California, spoke specifically about how implanted tech will feed biometric data directly to your doctors to monitor your health.

Saxon’s examples of this use are highly health driven. She cites defibrillators as the best example, implanted “tech” that she has to check every few months that she likens to “buying an expensive car and never programming the car radio or using any of the features.”

Conversely, she says that implants and being able to monitor patients 24/7 has multiple benefits.

“I realized that by checking every day on patients’ status wirelessly, we could make observations not just over my 700 patients with these defibrillators, but over the entire country,” she told Pop Sci. “So I started this research organization where we were at one point following 400,000 people that were wirelessly transmitting every day. And we made all these important observations and showed that if you did that patients lived longer…

So, now I’m very interested in building — because I like implanted stuff — an invisible, implantable sensor, that’s just injected. Imagine: you go to the Apple retail store and get injected.

What’s interesting is Saxon’s take on privacy. She thinks the benefits of implants outweigh the negative, saying, “it’s a tradeoff.”

If you remember, we talked to a man in 2012 who implanted RFID tags into his hands, mostly to improve his access to everyday things. “I can get into my house (which I do all the time and love it),” he told us. “I can start the motorcycle, get into the car, log into the computer, I have a fire safe that I added RFID to so I can get into there quick.”

It’s a bit sci-fi and out there, but it seems like it’s inevitable. What do you think about implanting tech right into your body?

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