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The Remote-Controlled Contraceptive

What's the Latest?

A Massachusetts company hopes to begin testing a remote-controlled contraceptive device next year with the goal of introducing it to the public by 2018. The tiny machine measures 20 x 20 x 7 millimeters and is designed to be implanted in the buttocks, upper arm, or abdomen. "It dispenses 30 micrograms a day of levonorgestrel, a hormone already used in several kinds of contraceptives. Sixteen years' worth of the hormone fits in tiny reservoirs on a microchip 1.5 centimeters wide inside the device." When an electric current is passed through the device, a seal temporarily melts, diffusing small amounts of the hormone each day.

What's the Big Idea?

In order to conceive a child, the woman in control of the device would simply turn off the implant with the remote control, and restart it again with another click. The dosage would last a full 16 years and doctors would remove the device when the hormones had been used up. The device was created in conjunction with the Gates Foundation and is aimed at fulfilling the commitment recently made by an international coalition of governments, companies, philanthropies, and nonprofits to providing family planning to 120 million more women in the world by 2020.

Read more at Technology Review

Photo credit: Bauer Alexander/Shutterstock

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