scorecardA microchip implant that lets you control your sleep cycle might soon be a reality
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A microchip implant that lets you control your sleep cycle might soon be a reality

A microchip implant that lets you control your sleep cycle might soon be a reality
Tech3 min read
  • The microchip is being developed by researchers at DARPA in partnership with Northwestern University.
  • The project is focusing primarily on helping military personnel adjust to various time zones.
  • The microchip will let users control their sleep cycle via a smartphone app.
A microchip implant is being developed by researchers that would allow humans to control the sleep cycle and treat sleeplessness. The chip, which is called ‘living pharmacy’, is still in the development stage as the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in partnership with Northwestern University are working to bring the blueprint to life in the next 4.5 years.

The prime purpose to develop this chip is to help military personnel adjust to various time zones since prolonged sleeplessness can lead to cognitive impairments, including injuries and even death.

The first trial would be done on soldiers of the military, and if it works, it could be used to treat people who suffer from sleep deprivation. While sleeping pills do the same job, they come with tons of side effects, including memory loss, anxiety, to name a few.

How is it supposed to work?

As per a report in FreeThink, the microchip will contain engineered cells taken from human donors. It could be modified to release proteins called peptides when stimulated by an embedded LED light. These peptides occur naturally in the human body and regulate the sleep cycle.

The living pharmacy chip would let users control the timing and dosage of the peptides through an app on a smartphone. The app and the microchip would then communicate through a hub that will be attached to an armband.

Each microchip will have a unique identification number and an encryption key and it will be implanted under the skin in an outpatient procedure.

The microchip would help reprogram the jet lag of soldiers as they could enter their arrival time in a foreign land prior to the flight using the app. This will enable the microchip to release peptides according to the internal body temperature of the soldier.

The peptides would be sent to the part of the brain that regulates the sleep cycle, allowing the soldier to begin adapting to the new time zone even before taking the flight.

What happens if the chip malfunctions?

If anything goes wrong, the person whose body microchip is implanted can take a pill that kills the cells inside the chip without affecting other parts of the body. Another way of ensuring safety is by removing the armband as the implanted microchip would then become useless.

Treating Cancer
If the microchip becomes effective in regulating sleep cycles, it could be used to treat plenty of other medical issues, such as cancer, where the timing of the medication is important. Paul Sheehan who is managing the project told Neo Life that the best time to give many cancer treatments is when patients are asleep but it isn’t possible given the availability of doctors and nurses.

The development of this microchip could bring in plenty of medical benefits that include on-demand therapies. We will learn more about it as the development progresses.

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