In June, thirty-five year old businesswoman Christine Willis, elected to become the first person to receive a cell-phone implant.
“I was always misplacing it and missing calls with serious clients. I’d forget to charge it and then I’d have no way of getting into contact with anyone,” she says. “I’m a forgetful person and this just seemed to be the best solution.”
The procedure involves sensors to be placed under the tongue to detect speech and in the ear canal to receive the transmitted sound. The sensors are then connected through various pathways into the brain. The entire piece is charged by the electric currents produced by the neurons in the brain.
Critics claim the procedure is dangerous, extremely invasive, and liken it to an electronic leash,
“I would not recommend this type of procedure to anyone,” Dr. Brent Matthews from the Mayo Clinic commented on Christine’s recent surgery. “It’s invasive, there are risks to the brain involved and it just seems to be a rather ridiculous solution to a problem of forgetfulness. If you keep losing your keys your not going to attach them to your fingers, are you?”
Christine responds to the criticism in a positive manner, “This procedure isn’t for everyone, of course. It is invasive but it has also improved my quality of life. I’m able to work better and keep in contact with relatives better.”
Christine also doesn’t gloss over the procedure’s drawbacks, “Sometimes if someone calls me in the middle of the night it wakes me up and is highly disruptive. But then again, if it’s something important than I’m glad it wakes me. I do have some trouble eating at times. Food becomes lodged in the sensor but a little mouthwash solves that problem.”
“I also have to be careful what I say, too,” she laughs while describing how voice-activated dialing can cause problems. “One time I said to my husband that I felt like pizza for dinner and it automatically called Pizza Hut!”
While the Cell-Phone Implant Procedure has been done on numerous patients, the product is still in its testing phase and will be available to the general public within the next five years.