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Last month, surgeons implanted the first of a new, souped-up knee implant, developed by Zimmer Biomet as a way to passively collect data about recovery after one of medicine’s priciest and most common procedures.

Zimmer Biomet, which pulls in $7 billion a year selling implants and other musculoskeletal care products and services, is unsurprisingly bullish on the new device, called Persona IQ, which gives the century-old company the sheen of a Silicon Valley tech innovator. The implant — cleared by the Food and Drug Administration in August for use in a small subset of knee replacements — contains sensors, a wireless transmitter, and a pacemaker-like battery that could paint a far clearer picture of the recovery process and problems that arise. The company has called it “groundbreaking” and claims it will “help write the future of orthopedic technology.”

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