Hacking the Human OS

If you wear a fitness tracker, you’re already generating scads of health-related data. It’s the start of a grand experiment. Doctors are now trying to answer a vital question: Can they use your data to make you stronger, healthier, and happier? IEEE Spectrum‘s three-part report begins with “Reading the Code,” …

Q&A: We Must Protect Bionic Bodies From Hacking, Says Kevin Fu

By Eliza Strickland Illustration: Jacob Thomas As patients welcome neurostimulators, medical microbots, and other hardware into their bodies, they’re welcoming potential security flaws too. Kevin Fu, an associate professor of electrical engineering and computer science at the University of Michigan, says the medical device industry needs to get serious about …

Video Friday: Aerial Manipulator, Car-Removal Robot, Robotic Limbs, and More From ICRA 2015

By Evan Ackerman Photo: Evan Ackerman/IEEE Spectrum All this week, we’ve been at ICRA in Seattle. A bunch of you are probably here too, and if you’re not, we’re sorry, because it’s awesome. The last few days we’ve bounced around as many different sessions as we can, and we have …

The Body Electric

Photo: Randi Klett The dream of using electrotechnologies to control human physiology is an old one, as this ad from June 1967 attests. Written in the style of a research report only broadly related to the advertiser’s business—a popular format in IEEE Spectrum‘s early years—this ad identifies the brain, heart, …

IBM Watson’s Recent Acquisitions Might Make It a Knowledge Machine You Can Actually Use

By Joshua Romero Illustration: Randi Klett; Images: iStockphoto IBM Watson has been buying some interesting companies and technologies lately: Cognea , a company that had developed a “conversational artificial intelligence program” meant to provide more natural interactions than current voice-controlled assistants like Siri and Cortana. AlchemyAPI, a company that provides …

Q&A: In the Quest for Personalized Medicine, Beware the Data Deluge, says Theresa MacPhail

Illustration: Jacob Thomas One person, properly motivated and equipped, can generate terabytes of personal data. While all that fine-grained information could prove invaluable, it also threatens to overwhelm the health care system. Medical anthropologist Theresa MacPhail of Stevens Institute of Technology spent several months during the H1N1 flu pandemic observing …