Our understanding of big data today usually only encompasses data consciously generated by people or passively collected by relatively large sensors, such as closed circuit TV cameras. The real explosion in data is going to come from much smaller, and much more numerous, sensors. And a prime site for locating sensors is on – and in – the human body.
Already the trend toward capturing data about steps taken, calories burned, and heart rate, is growing. There are dedicated devices and smartphone apps. The tech companies are competing fiercely to reinvent the wristwatch as a device primarily dedicated to personal data monitoring. The long-stalled category of “wearable computing” is enjoying a new lease of life.
Now scientists have developed a way of creating personalized assemblies of multiple sensors that can be implanted in the body. So, for example, they make a 3D model of your heart using scanning technologies. They then use the model to print a sensor-embedded membrane that exactly fits the surface of your heart. The membrane can then transmit live data about the performance of every part of the organ.
This is one of those ideas that's amazing for about minute – and then seems obvious. Surely everybody should have one of these as soon as it's safe and practical to do so. And that's just the heart... There's an awesome number of substances, rates, shapes, and relationships within the body that could be emitting data.
Making use of all this data is something else. The line between data collection and health improvements may be long and complex. But with sensor technology improving in leaps and bounds, this is surely the next frontier for data. Wired