Perfect Candidate for Contraceptives: A Wireless Remote-Controlled Implant That Can Be Turned On and Off

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By Afza Fathima | July 7, 2014 11:55 AM EST

A perfect candidate for contraceptive has been developed by a U.S. tech start-up MicroCHIPS. The device is a wireless, remote-controlled implant that can be switched on and off with the help of a button. 

Reuters
Birth control protestors demonstrating outside the U.S. Supreme Court June 30, 2014

Pre-clinical testing of the device will begin in 2015, and if the device proves to be a success, then the device will be made available in the market by 2018.

Gwen Kinkead at MIT Technology review explained that the device is just 20 x 20 x 7 mm, which is small enough to be implanted under the skin of the buttocks, upper arm, or abdomen and that it uses a synthetic hormone called levonorgestrel, which is already featured in many current contraceptives, and it dispenses 30 mg of it per day via a special heat-activated seal. 

Kinkead said, "MicroCHIPS invented a hermetic [air-tight] titanium and platinum seal on the reservoirs containing the levonorgestrel. Passing an electric current through the seal from an internal battery melts it temporarily, allowing a small dose of the hormone to diffuse out each day." The president of MicroChips Robert Farra had mentioned that the idea of using a thin membrance like an electric fuse was the most challenging and creative problem that they had to solve.

A replacement will be required only after 16 years as the device has enough hormones to last that long. The biggest unique selling point of the device will be that once the woman decides that she wants to conceives, all she will have to do is to switch off the device. And if she wants to start the hormones again, all that is required is for her to switch on the device with the help of the remote control. Another advantage of the device would be that the woman wouldn't have to remember to take her pills every day. Changing the dosage of the chip can be administered by the doctor. 

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(Photo: Reuters / Jonathan Ernst)
Birth control protestors demonstrating outside the U.S. Supreme Court June 30, 2014
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