Remote-controlled chip could be the future of birth control - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Remote-controlled chip could be the future of birth control

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Researchers with a biomedical technology company and Massachusetts Institute of Technology are currently testing a contraceptive with wireless capabilities. 

The microchip may be the future of contraception. Implanted under the skin, it can deliver tiny amounts of hormone like a birth control pill.

"I think this kind of technology could have a major effect and revolutionize various aspects of medicine, including birth control," Dr. Bob Langer, from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said.

Langer and bio-tech firm MicroCHIPS first tested the technology in 2012 in osteoporosis patients. It was a success. That's when Bill and Melinda Gates asked if the chip could be used to prevent pregnancy. 

The chip can hold enough hormone to prevent pregnancy for up to 16 years. When a woman wants to conceive - she or her doctor can just turn off the device with a remote.

Researchers are now working on the remote to make sure it can't be hacked.

"The remote control must be put up against the skin in order to establish communication. The reason we do that is we want people to have close range communication to prevent anyone from listening in to the encrypted signal," Bob Farra, who is the president and COO for MicroCHIPS, said.

Some experts point out that women already have Implantable birth control options like the IUD, but many still choose the pill.

"If women in the US are not using the long acting methods now, why are they going to be more likely to use this one," Dr. Lisa Perriera from University Hospitals Case Medical Center, said.

Farra said, unlike the IUD, the chip doesn't need to be removed every time a woman is ready to have a child.

Researchers plan to test the technology in women in 2016. The device would cost around $1,000.

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