More and more implantable devices, like pacemakers or defibrillators, are turning to wireless signals as a means to communicate with external devices, but in doing so they open themselves to security breaches. Several solutions are in the works that tackle this problem by upping device defenses, but by piling on security measures, yet another risk emerges: that at a critical time an authorized physician might not be able to access the device.
So Microsoft Research proposes putting a new technological spin on an old, time-tested security protocol: protect every device with a password, then tattoo the password right onto the patient in invisible UV ink.
Of the 250,000 Americans who die of cardiac arrest each year, 70 percent of them do so at home, where there's no access to a lifesaving defibrillator.
Enter the WCD 2000, the world's first wearable defibrillator. Electrodes in the chest-belt monitor the heart; if they lose the heartbeat, they signal the waist-mounted defibrillator to send a shock. Meanwhile, tiny capsules release an electricity-conducting gel onto the chest.