This just in: VeriChip Corp., leaders in implantable Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) chip technology, is planning to unveil a blueprint for the world's first tiny implantable chip capable of measuring glucose levels in the human body -- at a fancy-schmancy investors/press event in New York City on December 4th.
They're set to make a big splash, with prominent speakers including Dr. Manny Alvarez, Chairman of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Reproductive Science at Hackensack University Medical Center, and FoxNews.com health managing editor (my one-time online 'buddy' of Ask Dr. Manny).
The shindig will be held at the Grand Hyatt NYC at 4:30 p.m. EST next Tuesday. Specifically, VeriChip will "unveil details including plans to build a prototype self-contained implantable bio-sensing device included in an RFID microchip... Prior to the event, the Company will issue a 'white paper' describing the features, benefits and technology underlying the development of its revolutionary self-contained implantable glucose-sensing device."
Yes, I know. The prototype isn't even built yet and we've got to start bracing ourselves for YET ANOTHER barrage of headlines about some gizmo that will supposedly "do away with a lifetime of needle pricks for diabetics." How many times have we heard that before?
But this is still kind of a big deal, considering the reputation VeriChip has to live up to. The company has "a 20-plus-year track record in RFID systems for health care, with over 1000 infant protection systems installed and thousands more of the wander prevention systems."
So maybe they just could pull it off...
Certainly there are naysayers about the core technology. See one outspoken protest site HERE. More neutral observers note that RFID technology "is either the most amazing thing to grace healthcare in decades or a civil liberties nightmare waiting to explode."
But a glucose-sensing chip will not necessarily be programed to give out details of your geographical location. So no ethical issues there. The much, much bigger deal is a number of research articles over the last ten years that found a connection between the implantable chips and possible cancer. Ugh! But this caveat comes from studies with mice, not people, and an FDA spokesperson recently stated that "at this time there appears to be no credible cause for concern."
So, the question: IF you had the chance to wear this glucose-sensing chip in your gut, and therefore do away with fingerpricks forever, would you be willing to take the risk? It certainly looks tempting.
[Hat tip: Scott Hanselman]