In this article, we reviewed several implantable wireless microsystems currently being developed in the academia and industry. Recent advances in MEMS-based transducers, low-power CMOS integrated circuit, wireless communication transceivers, and advanced batch scale packaging have provided a unique opportunity to develop implantable wireless microsystems with advanced functionalities not achievable previously. These microsystems will be indispensable to the 21st century physician by providing assistance in diagnosis and treatment. Future research and development will probably be focused on three areas: 1) nano-transducers, 2) self-assembly, and 3) advanced biomaterials. Although MEMS-based sensors and actuators have been successful in certain areas (particularly physical sensors), their performance could be further improved by utilizing nano-scale fabrication technology. This is particularly true in the area of chemical sensors where future diagnostic depends on detecting very small amounts of chemicals (usually biomarkers) well in advance of any physical sign. Nanosensors capable of high sensitivity chemical detection will be part of the future implantable microsystems. In the actuator/delivery area, drug delivery via nanoparticles is a burgeoning area which will undoubtedly be incorporated into future therapeutic microsystems. Future packaging technology will probably incorporate self-assembly techniques currently being pursued by many micro/nano research groups. This will be particularly important in microsystems incorporating multitude of nanosen-sors. Finally, advanced nano-based biomaterials will be used in implantable microsystems (wireless or not) in order to enhance biocompatibility and prevent biofouling. These will include biocompatible surface engineering and interactive interface design (e.g., surfaces that release anti-inflammatory drugs in order to reduce post implant fibrous capsule formation).
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