Birth Control Just Got Remote-Controlled

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Get ready for a clicker you’ll never lose under the couch cushions: MicroCHIPS, a startup in Massachusetts, plans to begin pre-clinical testing for the first-ever remote-controlled contraceptive in 2015. Designed to be implanted in the buttocks, upper arm, or abdomen, the device is tiny — but don’t let it’s “microchip” status fool you into thinking it’s just some sci-fi phase. The chip will actually protect you from unwanted pregnancy for up to 16 years. It works by providing a daily dose of the hormone levonorgestrel, a fairly common ingredient in several forms of birth control, from daily pills to contraceptive implants. The device won’t be the first hormonal implant, but it will be the longest-lasting and (here’s where the remote comes in) the most instantly gratifying. With the push of a button, you can deactivate the chip and halt your daily dosage — and you can just as easily turn it back on.

Thanks to the device’s incredible lifespan and user-friendly design, a woman could feasibly have it implanted, choose to conceive years later, and then reactivate the device after her pregnancy. And, while your doctor can adjust the hormone dose remotely, the only time you’d absolutely need to see him or her would be to have the chip removed. Its remote-control feature eliminates most of the third-party interactions that other hormonal implants require, essentially putting you behind the steering wheel of your own contraception choices.

The biggest problem MicroCHIPS hopes to solve in 2015 is the possibility of remote hacking. (If it gives you the creeps to find out someone’s snuck onto your Wi-Fi, imagine how you’d feel if your birth-control remote wasn’t 100% hacker-proof.) Following tests, MicroCHIPS’ goal is to put the product on the market by 2018, by which time we might have some Google Glass contacts to match our microchip birth control.