Wirelessly connected medical implants are convenient, smart, and save a lot of lives. But the prospect of murdering someone by remotely screwing their, say, pacemaker, isn’t that remote. And researchers at MIT are working to protect you from implant assassins.
Making it easier for implants to talk to doctors through the air means better treatment for people who need them. But this perk leaves the sick in peril, MIT scientists say: “In the worst-case scenario, an attacker could kill a victim by instructing an implantable device to deliver lethal doses of medication or electricity”. That’s no good! Is this a serious threat for most people? Definitely not. But it’s not one you want floating around anyway.
So MIT and University of Massachusetts-Amherst collaborated on a solution: a small, wearable jamming device, tailor-made for your implant, blocking out any and all unauthorised attempts to connect. It's taken some serious innovating to develop a wireless signal that won't disrupt the very implant the jammer's meant to protect, but the implant and jammer work together: "Because the shield knows the shape of its own jamming signal, however, it can, in effect, subtract it from the received signal." Your pacemaker stays shielded, the jammer handles the security work, and you can walk around without worrying about an invisible zap of death. [MIT]