Engineers at the University of California, Berkeley have created the very first dust-sized wireless sensors that may be implanted within the body. The neural dust is implanted in the muscles and peripheral nerves of rats and is unique due to its use of ultrasound.
Ultrasound technology is already very thoroughly developed for the care of hospice patients and ultrasound vibrations are able to penetrate just about everywhere within the human body making them much more useful than radio waves.
These hold a piezoelectric crystal that converts ultrasound vibrations from outside of the body into electricity that powers a tiny, on board transistor that is in direct contact with a nerve or muscle fiber.
The first generation motes were coated with surgical grade epoxy but they are currently working on building motes from biocompatible thin films that may potentially last inside the body without any signs of degradation for at least a decade.
Dongjin Seo, graduate student in electrical engineering and computer sciences says the vision is to implant these neural dust motes anywhere throughout the body and have a patch over the implanted site that sends ultrasonic waves to wake up and receive necessary information from the motes from the desired therapy you want.
Maharbiz said their first study demonstrated that the fundamental physics of ultrasound allowed for very small implants that would not be able to record and communicate neural data.