It’s hard to imagine a computer chip tinier than a single, human cell. Still, scientists recently created silicon chips small enough to be embedded into body cells. Once the technology is studied more and optimized, researchers say that chips could be used to study cell activity, detect diseases earlier, deliver drugs and even aid in repairing cells.

Scientists from Spain’s Instituto de Microelectronica de Barcelona found that they could directly embed silicon nanochips into body cells and for the most part, cells would continue functioning normally. Researchers have worked with implementing nanomaterials into cells before, but silicon allows for easy integration of electronics and mechanical parts. Soon, scientists hope to use the chips as intracellular sensors that can study cell activity, target drug delivery and detect diseases at much earlier stages.

If the chips are successfully perfected, they will certainly revolutionize medicine. The chips could also mitigate the environmental impacts associated with energy-intensive medical equipment and disease treatment.

Via Popular Science