Embeddable Technology: Because Wearable Is Apparently Not Enough

By Som2416 (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

By Som2416 (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Even before you could warm to the many wearable tech devices available in the market, you may have to get yourself acquainted with yet another tech phrase: embeddable technology.

Smart watches, smart glasses, Android Wear, and other wearable devices may have not reached the peak of their popularity yet but there seems to be no reason for another form of consumer technology not to be developed and introduced.

What is Embeddable Technology?

Also referred to as implantable technology, embeddable tech is a class of tech devices that can be attached to the human body to provide benefits that cannot be afforded by non-embedded devices. The attachment or implantation can be permanent or semi-permanent. The relatively old pacemakers are a form of embeddable technology. Tracking devices or GPS chips attached to pets are themselves a form of implantable technology.

Embeddable Technology Advancement

The idea behind embedding small electronic devices to a living body is nothing new but it appears to be advancing faster than expected. A study conducted by think tank PSFK offers details that suggest that mainstream adoption of embedded technology could take place in as early as 2017. That’s just three years from now and we’re still not even sure if the wearables market could take off.

According to PSFK founder and editor-in-chief Piers  Fawkes, the adoption of implanted technology could be a gradual but continuous process. “We will just gently start integrating these things into our bodies,” he claims. As to how things will develop, Fawkes believes that it will be similar to how other consumer tech markets grow over time. Consensus cannot be expected. Companies that could potentially become the key players in the market are unlikely going to meet together and discuss how to go about with the conceptualization, development, and marketing of embeddable tech products.

By Nardsdesign (Own work) [CC-BY-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

By Nardsdesign (Own work) [CC-BY-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Embeddable Tech Applications

Two main applications of embeddable technology can be envisioned in the near future. These are biohacking and the medical field.

Technological Biohacking

Biohacking refers to the use of biological principles and methods with hacker ethic. It is about bringing the knowledge of biology in ingenious or innovative ways to improve or correct defects in a living organic body. Technological biohacking, on the other hand, means the utilization of technology in enhancing the living organic body.

The term “biohackers” in the current context mostly refers to those who have fondness or willingness to subject their bodies to technological augmentations that usually go skin-deep. They create devices that upgrade human capabilities. An example of biohackers is the group Grindhouse Wetware. It is a biohackers collective founded in 2012. Its membership includes programmers, engineers, and biohacking enthusiasts who share the common goal of augmenting human capabilities with open source, safe, and affordable technology. The group developers both hardware and software to pursue their biohacking aspirations.

So far, the group’s projects include the Bottlenose, Thinking Cap, and Circadia. The Bottlenose is a magnet-based system linked to a number of sensors. Thinking Cap is Grindhouse Wetware’s implementation of the transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) and cranial electrotherapy stimulation (CES). Circadia, on the other hand, is an implantable device that obtains biomedical data from its wearer and transmits these data to a smartphone through Bluetooth. It even lights up to provide notifications or alerts. Yes, it is embedded underneath the skin so the illumination passes through the skin. It appears weird for some but it could be what the future will look like.

Medical Applications

In the medical world, embeddable technology is doubtlessly very useful. Enhanced pacemakers, robotic prosthetics, and other corporal augmentations are just some of the examples of what could be the future of health care. With the aid of implantable devices, it will become easier to track health and wellness. Monitoring patients, especially those who require long-term care, can be facilitated by tiny embeddable devices.

More precise drug delivery could also be one of the consequences of the application of embeddable technology in the field of medicine. Delivering medication for osteoporosis, for example, can be greatly improved with the help of an implantable device.

Wearable fitness and health trackers are great but having something you can wear all of the time is always better, as long as it does not become obtrusive and uncomfortable.

By mize2oo5 (Cyborg  Uploaded by Marcok) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

By mize2oo5 (Cyborg Uploaded by Marcok) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

It wouldn’t be long before embeddable technology progresses into something that involves computers residing inside the human body or something that integrates artificial muscles, replacements for the eyes, corneal implants that do what Google Glass does, and implants that enable gesture-based interaction with electronic devices. Technology is rapidly advancing and embeddable tech devices are only a logical derivative of today’s multifunctional tech products. Maybe we’d even get to see embedded chips underneath human faces in the future.