The shrinking divide between man and machine. The newly controversial subject of “brain hacking,” and its capacity for widespread application in the field of medicine. Wearable biometric technology provides the potential of many benefits coupled with a marked possibility to pose privacy risks. At SXSW 2015, IEEE’s Future of Identity Series shed light on these topics and more through several sessions focused on emerging technologies in biomedicine, and their implications on those who develop and use them. Extreme Bionics: The End of Disability, Biometrics and Identity: Beyond Wearable, and DIY Brain Hacking! Electroceuticals & You featured prominent speakers who offered insights and generated conversation about the intersection of new technology and its medical applications.

The dialogue opened through these panels is not limited solely to SXSW. Long after SXSW 2015 has ended, IEEE’s voice in the biometrics, digital health, and medical devices spaces will continue via numerous collaborative opportunities and offerings geared to not only engineers, but to all who are interested in remaining on the forefront of these new and exciting technologies.

Giving voice to engineers practicing in similar fields of interest as those mentioned above, the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (IEEE EMBS) is the world’s largest international society of biomedical engineers, hailing from approximately 100 countries around the world. With a focus on topics such as telemedicine, biosensors, biomechanics, and wearable technologies, just to name a few, IEEE EMBS maintains several publications and hosts several major conferences that examine cutting-edge developments in medical technology.

In addition, the IEEE Biometrics Council focuses on the theory, design, and application of biometrics based on physical and/or behavioral features and traits for identification, verification, and encryption. The Council also offers yearly “Summer Schools” geared toward introducing students, entrepreneurs, project managers, and government officials to relevant biometrics topics.

IEEE Spectrum frequently reports on a variety of biomedical topics, making them accessible to readers at all levels of engineering knowledge. Recently, the magazine has explored brain hacking and body computing in deep detail by featuring articles that carefully examine all sides of the debate.

For those with even limited knowledge of engineering who would like to be kept abreast of these revolutionary topics within the field of biomedicine, IEEE also operates a free Life Sciences portal that continually reports on the most current information regarding the convergence of multiple technologies in the biomedical space.

IEEE also plays a role in developing standards that help advance technology for the benefit of humanity. The IEEE Standards Association (IEEE-SA) develops the standards that enable the "on the go" technology of mobile devices used by clinicians and caregivers to help patients live active and independent lives. The IEEE 11073™ family of standards assist in the support of patients living independently with chronic diseases like asthma, diabetes, congestive heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases, high blood pressure, stroke and atrial fibrillation. Additionally, IEEE EMBS recently sponsored a working group in partnership with IEEE-SA that led to the approval of IEEE Standard 1708™, which proposes guidelines for emergent technology that is designed to enable innovative services such as beat-to-beat monitoring of blood pressure.

IEEE boasts a broad scope in the biomedical field, which allows for convergence and collaboration points that are not limited to engineers alone, but to an extended community of those interested in the development of biomedical technologies. IEEE’s collaborative nature – with a focus not just on one field of technology, but on many that overlap interdisciplinarily – ensures that the organization will continue to remain at the forefront of the newest discoveries and continue to facilitate both their discussion and application for the foreseeable future.

About IEEE
IEEE is a large, global professional organization dedicated to advancing technology for the benefit of humanity. Through its highly cited publications, conferences, technology standards, and professional and educational activities, IEEE is the trusted voice on a wide variety of areas ranging from aerospace systems, computers and telecommunications to biomedical engineering, electric power and consumer electronics. Learn more at