Birth control computer chip in the works

Birth control could be going cyber. Researchers from a Massachusetts company are working on a microcomputer chip for birth control that can be controlled by a wireless remote.

MicroCHIPS, an IT start-up, is developing the device that would be implanted underneath the skin in the butt, abdomen or upper arm. It would store the hormone levonorgestrel, already used in some birth controls and release 30mcg of the hormone daily for as long as 16 years. The chip could easily be turned off if the woman wants to halt birth control or wishes to conceive.

The hormone is concealed on the chip through a hermetic titanium and platinum seal. When the remote button is pushed, it triggers an electric current from an internal battery that melts the seal temporarily so a dosage is released.

Why would a person want this? Convenience. Supporters of the idea say the simplicity of turning the birth control on and off could greatly simplify fmaily planning. Critics have speculated that the implanted chip could be susceptible to hackers. However, MicroCHIPS says the remote communication has to happen at skin level—making it impossible for someone to reprogram the chip from across a room or further away.

The chip, which has been is backed by Bill Gates, is likely to undergo preclinical testing in the U.S. next year and is could be available to the public by 2018.

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