Some futurists like Ray Kurzweil believe that very soon humans will have the ability to live forever. And while Kurzweil has his share of skeptics, increasingly amazing scientific developments make betting against such predictions a somewhat short-sighted gamble. Nevertheless, we still haven't cracked immortality, although now there's a device that has been developed that promises to actually tell exactly how mortal we are.
The researchers, based at Lancaster University in the U.K., claim that their "Endotheliometer" could become "the thermometer of the 21st century." The non-invasive, wrist-mounted device measures the activity within the layer of cells known as endothelium that coat the insides of your body's blood vessels. The device conducts the analysis by detecting cardiac-induced pulse waves in the skin's microcirculation using LDF (laser Doppler flowmetry). Because endothelial activity declines as our bodies age, some believe the device could be used to determine the relative longevity of a person.
In a statement released earlier this summer related to the device's development, one of the developers, professor Aneta Stefanovska, said:
"Endothelial function declines with age, and diseases such as heart failure and hypertension have associated endothelial dysfunction… We can use it to check that the state of ageing is within healthy limits and can try to prevent possible complications leading to serious impairment and cardiovascular disease."
The image above is just an early prototype and doesn't offer a direct indication of what a commercial version of the Endotheliometer might eventually look like. In the meantime, you can learn more about the research behind the device here.