future medical devicesI’ve touted our current century as being the century of light . The latest evidence for this prediction comes from kurzwilai.net in a story about optoelectronic microprocessors. Using light to transmit data requires a lot less energy than using electricity. The reduced power requirements make optoelectronic chips an attractive field for applied research. Researchers at a consortium of universities have built a prototype optoelectronic chip using conventional chip manufacturing methods. Computation is still done electronically, but information is moved optically.

We are certain to learn much more about how to harness light and employ it as a more efficient energy and information source than electricity. I am wondering how controlling light might be used to advance medical devices? Photodetectors, light modulators, waveguides, optical filters, and optical interfaces will be replacing the electronic components that device designers are used to working with. Medical device companies should be anticipating advances in this area and planning now to incorporate them into future medical devices.