John Pugh: Will Ingestible Micro Computers Be The Doctors Of The Future?

John Pugh: Will Ingestible Micro Computers Be The Doctors Of The Future?

The new smart pill from Proteus Digital Health is a fully functional mini chip people can take with a glass of water.

John Pugh, BI
  • 7 july 2013

Imagine if on your next doctors visit, instead of going through all the examinations, your doctor simply handed you a pill and sent you on your way. They may look like normal pills, oblong and a little smaller than a daily vitamin, however they are in fact fully functional ingestible computers, which travel your system and transmit back data. It sounds like something straight out of science fiction, but is it really that far off?

Proteus Digital Health of Redwood City, California, has created a ‘smart pill’ system that helps patients and caregivers monitor dosages. Inside these pills are tiny sensors and transmitters. After swallowing them, the devices make their way to the stomach and then through the intestinal tract. The pill contains a sensor that interacts with stomach fluid and sends a signal to a patch on the torso. The patch transmits information about the type of pill and when it was ingested to a nearby smartphone, along with physiological data, including heart rate and activity level. Patients can access the information on a mobile app and share it with others.


The pills themselves do not require a battery, as the body itself is the power source. Just as a potato can power a light bulb, Proteus has added magnesium and copper on each side of its tiny sensor, which generates just enough electricity from stomach acids. As the computer sits in the stomach, it can monitor the medication-intake of the patient, as well as other data such as heart rate and temperature.


The technology behind these pills could help patients monitor and treat a wide range of problems. People with heart failure-related difficulties could monitor blood flow and body temperature; those with central nervous system issues, including schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s disease, could take the pills to monitor vital signs in real time. Furthermore, the technology gives doctors a direct and simple way to get a closer look at the inner workings of their patients.

Proteus Digital Health

PSFK has partnered with  Boehringer Ingelheim to bring you a steady stream of inspiring news and ideas in the health and wellness space. Once each week, we will be posting an article on If you would like to gain access to the full stream of content, please check out Boehringer Ingelheim’s Facebook Page, where they are publishing a regular stream of inspiring and informative content.


Fitness Advocate: Paving The Future of Workouts With Audio

Fitness & Sport
Arts & Culture Today

The Next Great Art Movement Will Come At The Swipe Of A Finger

An improved app, optimized digital display and monthly art discovery service round out Electric Objects' renewed commitment to democratizing the art world

Retail Today

A TV Streaming Service Is Designed Just For Kids

Toca TV is a new platform offering thousands of original and curated children's videos for a monthly subscription fee


Get PSFK's Related Report: Sports Debrief

See All
Travel Today

Bus Stop Transformed Into A Fitness Station For Commuters

Sports drink company Lucozade live-streamed an athletic trainer working out at a stop in Manchester to encourage travelers to get moving

Related Expert

Daniel Pizzata

Robot Inventor & Creative Maker

Mobile Today

Samsung Is Using AR To Help Beachgoers Stay Safe

Pocket Patrol utilizes a phone's camera to promote beach safety and educate people about hidden hazards

Design & Architecture Today

500 Plastic Chairs Used To Create A Recyclable Pavilion

Design agency CODA built a grandoise art piece from simple lawn furniture

Retail Today

Exchange Your Old Razors For New Ones At This Bartershop

The subscription-based shaving company lets customers trade their unwanted razors for Harry's brand steel at a temporary New York pop-up


Future Of Automotive
Scenarios Driving The Digital Transformation Of An Industry

PSFK Op-Ed october 21, 2016

Health Expert: Nutritional Meal Replacements Are A Solution To Corporate Wellness

Ample Foods Founder Connor Young explains why supplements are the next food trend coming to the workplace

PSFK Labs Today

The Keys For Exceptional Performance On And Off The Field

PSFK Labs' new report highlights five important insights for businesses to perform better than the competition

Food Today

A Brewer Has Created The Most Expensive Chips To Snack On

St. Eriks Brewery created crisps made from rare mushrooms to go with its artisan beer, donating all proceeds to charity

Op-Ed Today

Marketing Experts: Millennials And The Power Of Cool

'Good Is The New Cool' Authors Afdhel Aziz and Bobby Jones share their 7 principles for branding with a social impact

Travel Today

Melbourne Hotel Lets Guests Stay In Their Own Chrome Airstream Trailers

Notel is a luxury rooftop with six guest rooms made from vintage 1970s mobile homes

Infants Today

Battery Powered Cradle Will Rock Itself

NoomiNoomi is a clever device that makes it easier to put babies to sleep

Fitness & Sport Today

How Precision Data Can Make Anyone A Better Performer

The Sports Debrief from PSFK Labs looks at how analytic tools are being developed to optimize human performance across all industries

Home Today

You Can Now Buy Furniture From A Daytime TV Show

Home furnishing online retailer Wayfair is partnering with Lifetime to create a shoppable life improvement television program

Social Media Today

Instagram Tool Prevents People From Harming Themselves

A new anonymous reporting option on the social media platform hopes to provide better emotional support for users

No search results found.