UK-based scientists have designed an ‘intelligent’ microchip which they claim can suppress appetite. Animal trials of the electronic implant are about to begin and its makers say it could provide a more effective alternative to weight-loss surgery.
The chip is attached to the vagus nerve which plays a role in appetite as well as a host of other functions within the body. Human trials of the implant could begin within three years, say its makers.
The chip will tell the brain don’t eat any more – the gut’s full of food and you don’t need to eat any more ” Prof Sir Stephen Bloom
The chip and cuffs are designed to read and process electrical and chemical signatures of appetite within the nerve. The chip can then act upon these readings and send electrical signals to the brain reducing or stopping the urge to eat.
“And as a result of monitoring these signals we can stimulate the brain to counter whatever we monitor. “It will be control of appetite rather than saying don’t eat completely. So maybe instead of eating fast you’ll eat a lot slower.”
He said initial laboratory trials had already demonstrated proof of concept. Prof Bloom, who heads Imperial’s diabetes, endocrinology and metabolism division, said the chip could provide an alternative to “gross surgery”.
In this video, I discuss the future implications of this technology. At what point do humans become robots if implants are telling our brains how to ‘think’?