Jet Lag Left Lagging Behind

Those that travel often for work or pleasure understand that jet lag can sometimes make or break your whole trip.

Studies show that 93% of all travelers experience jet lag at some point. Some experience jet lags very mildly, while others who cross multiple time zones may take days to recover.

Thankfully, the innovators at Rice University have set out to alleviate jet lag for all.

In a project funded by the Department of Defense, researchers are creating an almond-sized silicone implant designed to be put into a person’s arm or abdomen. The implant is intended to cut the time spent recovering from jet lag by 50%.

Photo from Yi-Chin Lee, Houston Chronicle

Now, why would the average person go through the process of receiving an implant just for jet lag?

Well, the technology is initially envisioned for those who need to be rested and attentive such as the military, pilots, first responders, and those who work late shifts. So, if you fall into one of those categories or simply travel frequently, it may be worth the investment.

There is just one problem, the device has to be able to survive inside of our bodies.

Currently, the implant is housed in a plastic mesh that enables nutrients to enter the device since the biologically engineered cells need nutrients. At the same time, the electronic parts of the implant need to be protected.

To help solve this problem, electrical engineer Kaiyuan Yang of Rice has developed an armband that can be worn to transmit signals to the implant.

The user could simply send a message via their smartphone and confirm that they would like the implant to release the appropriate dose.

“It’s like an implantable pharmacy on a chip that never runs out,” Northwestern Engineering’s Jonathan Rivnay, principal investigator of the project, said in a news release. “… No need to carry drugs, no need to inject therapeutics and — depending on how long we can make the device last — no need to refill the device.”

While the implant is designed for jet lag as of now, the hope is that this technology can be a breakthrough to replace pills and shots for those with ongoing medical issues.

For more information, read the original article from the Houston Chronicle.