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These two discs—which under magnification look like homemade pennies—are implantable sensors developed by researchers at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, in Troy, N.Y. They are designed to wirelessly transmit data from inside a patient’s healing wound so surgeons can get real-time data about the state of the person’s recovery. The 4-millimeter-wide, 0.5-mm-thick sensor is powered by the same external device that captures the data.
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Willie Jones is an associate editor at IEEE Spectrum. In addition to editing and planning daily coverage, he manages several of Spectrum's newsletters and contributes regularly to the monthly Big Picture section that appears in the print edition.