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Mapping Weak Signals

Inspired by: blogs » Implantable electronics leaving no trace

version: 5 / updated: 2011-04-21
id: #1721 / version id: #1045
mode: VIEW

Originally submitted by: Anthony Walker
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Last changed by: Rafael Popper
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Source of inspiration

Internet Blogs

The source of the Weak Signal is


Signal's headline

(max. 9 words)
Implantable electronics leaving no trace

Signal's description

(approx. 150 words)
Please describe the Weak Signal (approx. 150 words)
Implantable electronic devices can be used to deliver dugs, monitor biomarkers and stimulate nerves. Once their action is completed they dissolve. Although this could be pioneering for medical research, it is also open to abuse as medical staff administering devices could easily exploit their power with little or no trace evidence. Equally, chips could be administered without a doctors know-how.


implantable electronics, devices, drug delivery, biomarkers, medical research, no trace


(max. 250 characters)
Implantable electronic devices can be used to deliver drugs, monitor biomarkers and stimulate nerves. Once their action is completed they dissolve.

Signal's first apperance


Signal's potential evolution

It could lead to...
issue type of issue/development potential impact on society timeframe for the issue to become at least 50% probable
#1 Health/medical advancement to deliver drugs effectively Performance enhancement of drugs for sports people and athletes would be untraceable. continuation
#2 Abuse - use in torture or recreational drug use. Longer term damage created from devices not dissolving properly and causing infection / toxicity. new/emerging
very harmful

Under what assumption the Weak Signal might evolve.

Advances in research


please specify
please select
Level 1: important for a particular country
Level 2: important for a particular world region
Level 3: important for the European Union
Level 4: important for the whole world Rich only - poor may not be available for

Filters preventing the signal's monitoring

information/communicational filters (media/editorial interests, language, reasoning)
cultural/religious filters (values, traditions, faith, spiritual beliefs)
scientific filters (knowledge/technology access)
political filters (party or ideological interests)
social filters (class, status, education level)

Comments on selection:

Benefits not allowed by certain religions etc or due to media scares. Scientific advances needed. Political pressure on torture use.

Key driving forces of this signal

Please use these boxes to provide up to 2 drivers of HIGH importance. Click on HELP to see examples:
Driver 1 Driver 2
Social Uptake dependent on public perception
Technological/Scientific Advances to make it possible
Political Use in torture governed by policy/laws.

Major risks & opportunities associated to the signal

Please choose the most appropriate timeframe option(s) to which you would like to provide inputs.
Risks Opportunities
before 2015 Medical advances Application in torture
between 2015-2025 Recreational drug use untraceable

Potential stakeholders' actions

short-term actions
(after 2015)
Policy actors (at the international, European and national levels) Be aware of human rights issues
Academic/Research sector Research funding required
Media Positive reporting, alert to misuse of technology

Signal's relevance for European Grand Challenges

where? please justify:
particularly relevant Europe world
Crime and terrorism Open to abuse of technology
Diseases, health and well-being Positive effect
Governance and trust in democracy Not to be used in torture etc
Social pathologies & ethics Untraceable recreational drug use
Social exclusion & poverty May not be universally available for benefit

Signal's relevance for thematic research areas

please justify:
particularly relevant
Health Positive
Nanosciences, nanotech, materials & new prod. tech. Manufacturing products using technology
Social Sciences and Humanities Social contral
Security Espionage application
Science in society Positive attitude to new technology

Pan-European strategies influencing the signal

please justify:
particularly relevant
Strengthening research institutions and universities Resaerch required to develop technology

Research-friendly strategies potentially improving understanding of the signal

For further information about 'research-friendly strategies' click here
please justify:
particularly relevant
Strengthening the actors in the research-friendly ecology
(i.e. Research funding organisations, universities, businesses, Research and Technology Organisations, Researchers and Citizens)

Signal's relevance for future R&D and STI policies

Note: RTD = research and technology development; STI = science, technology and innovation
Research required to develop technology and also education of society essential to ensure positive attitude to new technological advances.