A group of engineers at the University of Pittsburgh have developed a system designed to enhance the track and trace of orthopedic implants with the power of RFID technology, reports PhysOrg.com.
The “wow factor” is that instead of using the open air as the medium for radio waves to transmit, the system uses human tissue.
The system, dubbed Ortho-Tag, features a wireless chip attached to the implant and a handheld reader that enable physicians to retrieve critical information as it pertains to the artificial limb.
Sensors within the chip enable physicians to monitor the condition of surrounding tissue to gauge the pressure of the implant and the chemical balance and temperature of the tissue, and the threat of harmful organisms.
The Ortho-Tag system could also carry information directly related to the implant’s performance, such as model number, or manufacturer – helpful information that can be used to identify recalled or defective implants.
For people with existing orthopedic devices, the group is considering producing wallet-sized cards with an affixed RFID tag uploaded with information about the patient and the implant.