The figure on the right is a scientist at Queen Mary, University of London. The figure on the left is a hollow “phantom”. The chamber in which they stand excludes electromagnetic radiation.
The scientist fills the phantom with fresh lamb meat. He buries a small antenna in the meat and triggers it to send and receive radio signals.
The aim is to design an antenna for implantable medical devices for insulin delivery, pacemaker regulation, cardiac defibrillation and bowel control.
The perfected antenna will improve patient comfort because the implanted devices will then be totally free from wires. A nurse or doctor will be able to monitor and regulate the wireless device inside the patient from their office down the corridor.
But first the scientists must be confident that signals to and from the antenna propagate efficiently and do not affect human body tissue.
Each experiment must stop after four hours. After that point, the meat is no longer fresh enough to have the same properties as living human flesh.
A virtual phantom – a computer model – is being constructed so soon the experiments will be able to continue without visits to the butcher.
In a previous life, the phantom was used to test the electromagnetic radiation from police radio handsets. That’s why its hand is in front of its face.