The Human Body And Computers

Article first published as I Sing The Body Electric on Technorati.

With apologies to Ray Bradbury and his "electric grandmother", we are starting to see a future where our own bodies may become an integral part of the digital landscape.

I Sing The Body Electric

It's becoming clear to some that passwords are a pain - biometrics may be an answer, taking unique physical characteristics and using them instead of passwords for identification. Intel has the latest wrinkle on this with a sensor that recognizes the veins in a person's palm. Wave "hello" and be authenticated.

There is a whole market segment in wearable medical technology waiting in the wings, partly fueled by the deluge of old codgers like me resulting from the baby boom generation - diabetes, heart conditions, and blood pressure are all waiting to be monitored, analyzed - and billed for.

This also ties in neatly with the push towards electronic medical records, and the desire to allow older patients to stay at home longer by being actively monitored, rather than having to take up the shrinking available long term care space.

Taking it perhaps a step further, a human body at rest generates enough power to operate a 100 Watt light bulb. Why not harness some of that "free" energy to power our portable electronic devices? Piezoelectric devices can transfer small movements into electricity, and we can probably come up with a slick way to divert a few watts here and there just from body heat itself.

Our bodies, electric.

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