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From Wearable to Implantable Electronic Devices: Are You Ready?

I’ll admit it… when I first started wearing contact lenses, the idea of touching my eye was unnerving.

Luckily, I got over it. (Especially since I am not quite ready to embrace the idea of laser eye surgery.) Plus, I am pretty happy with my contacts and am able to read spreadsheets with ease. That’s all that matters as an accountant, right?

It turns out, I am way behind the times. At the end of April, Google submitted a patent for a device you inject in your eyeball. I don’t know if I will ever be ready to inject an electronic vision correcting device into my eye. Overall, the idea of implanted electronic devices is terrifying. It screams Hollywood movie… you know, bionic man or cyborg? Take your pick.

It’s not all science fiction

If we take a step back, it’s actually not that revolutionary as implanted medical devices have been on the scene for a while now. Business Insider reports medical device companies rake in $200 million billion dollars worldwide each year and artificial eye lenses are the most implanted medical device in America. No wonder Google wants in on the action!

Some other common implantables are pacemakers and neurostimulators. So far, they are used primary for medical applications, but I have a feeling this isn’t going to be the case long.

The Internet of Things just got a little more personal

I’ll call it now. We are on the verge of transitioning from wearable electronic devices (think: Fitbit) to injectable electronic devices. (There is no way I will be an early adopter… GAH!)

It also opens up a whole new can of worms with regard to the Internet of Things (IoT) that I discussed few months ago. It’s seriously mind bending. For example, what if the main IoT node or sensor is injected into your arm instead of chilling in your pocket? Talk about a digital leash! But it makes me wonder, is it really that different from our current status quo if the device were implanted? I have my smartphone with me all the time anyway. It might actually be nice to eliminate the risk of leaving the device on my kitchen counter by mistake.

Bye-bye privacy

I alluded to personal privacy being dead in my last post on the topic. I think implantables take this concept to a whole new level.

Imagine if billable hour tracking could be linked to this device? Obviously there would need to be some kinks worked out but our smartphones are already starting this trend; so it may not be that crazy. All I can say is you better not have anything to hide.

A recent Deloitte University Press article called “Will IoT technology bring us the quantified employee?” stated:

With oceans of data from workers’ wearables, HR departments could aim to create more pleasant and efficient work environments by looking at productivity, patterns of communication, travel and location trends, and how teams work together. But there are real obstacles to enlisting a workforce into this effort, beginning with the fact that employees aren’t necessarily comfortable giving their bosses unrestricted visibility into their movements and more.

I argue the same can be said for implantables too. This article goes on to highlight that “establishing trust between worker and employer is the linchpin of successful applications of the quantified employee.” It’s going to take a lot for me to have this level of trust with my employer. But, you never know, this may be the wave of the future.
What do you think about implanted electronic devices for non-medical purposes? Creepy, right? Is there value for accountants and auditors that I am missing?