A baby born five to 10 years from now in a developed country may get a tattoo not long after her first feeding. It would be an integrated circuit, a discreet and flexible affair, smaller than a postage stamp and probably placed on the chest. It would monitor such biometric parameters as electrocardiogram (EKG), physical activity, nutritional status, sleep duration, breathing rate, body temperature, and hydration. By the time the child is two years old, she will have generated and stored in the cloud more biometric data than has anyone alive today, says Leslie Saxon, chief of the division of cardiovascular medicine at the University of Southern California's Keck School of Medicine.
The data, possibly collected from one or more sensors in the body, would be transmitted to cellphones or tablets where apps would give parents and pediatricians insights into the baby's health and condition in real-time.
And it won't be just children who are sensored up, Saxon says. Athletes, soldiers, and just about everybody else would benefit. It's part of a future in which "patients own their data and have the resources to interact with it," Saxon says. "They'll manage symptoms and medication, food and physical activity," she predicts. "You'll be able to curate your own body metrics." And that's not all. Noting that the deluges of data will be valuable to pharmaceutical, biomedical, and other companies, Saxon suggested that "maybe you should be paid for your data."