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.
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.