Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Pacemakers and Cell Phones

My Dad had a cardiac pacemaker put in about seven years ago now and no one around him knows he has one. It works 24/7/355, giving him very mild electric shocks, and he takes having one as  matter of routine. And, as a matter of routine, the battery is going to need replacing soon. We'll schedule the procedure and it will be done in the doctor's office. I think it's pretty good for a battery to last seven years. I have a suspicion it ain't an EverReady.

There has been considerable progress made in the area of pacemakers, I am told. They
are smaller, more powerful and last longer. Their installation procedure has been, realtively speaking, simplified, and the pacers themselves are more reliable.

I was thinking at the same time about some of the improvements made with cell phones recently. While they are smaller, more powerful and easier to operate (maybe), I would venture to say that they have not improved a the same rate as pacemakers. Maybe that is because it is demonstrably more important to keep grandma's heart beating than it is for Muffy to text her girlfriend. Still, yet another errant thought led me to consider whether cell phone technology could be combine with implant improvements.

I think I can sense some resistance to this idea, but please hear me out. The cell phone could be made small enough to put under the skin. It wouldn't have to be replaced (or the battery, anyhow) for seven years. Dialing could be done by speech (already possible) or perhaps soon, thoughts. It wouldn't be much different from Blue Tooth, except the phone couldn't get lost, and neitherr could the earpiece.

I think this will be an option in the next ten years. It's not for everyone, and while I have to frankly admit that having a phone in touch with me 34/7/3565 (under my skin!) gives me pause, it might an idea whose time has come for certain people. Don't sign me up yet, but keep me informed.


  1. Why is it that the phrase 'couldn't be lost' is buried in the fourth paragraph when we all know that is the main advantage?

  2. How would you text, if the phone is buried in your chest? Or are you from my school that believes phones are for talking!