The future is becoming personal. As humans and technology unite, science fiction is becoming reality. Smart implants are paving the way. They are making our own bodies into functional parts of the Internet of Things: extremely small, highly reliable, and intelligently connected, implants are increasingly entering the medical technology market to capture and transmit data. Optical components, such as sensors and cameras, can collect critical information. These sensitive elements depend on housings that protect them from moisture and bodily fluids. At the same time, these housings must not interfere with electrical, optical and high- frequency signal transmission. This is where glass begins to shine as a material. Its excellent biocompatibility and transparency for high-frequency waves opens up completely new possibilities for active implants. For example, “full-glass housings” could enable particularly efficient loading, data transmission and programming for implants. The transparency of glass also unlocks a broad spectrum of optical applications.
Already today, special retinal implants in all-glass hermetic packaging create new treatment methods for people suffering from severe vision loss. These implants are inserted into the eye in a minimally-invasive surgical procedure and contain the necessary functionalities to stimulate retinal nerves without needing additional wiring outside the eye globe. The all-glass housing enables wireless data transmission that the patient’s care provider can use to optimize the device for maximum effectiveness.