June 25, 2013
People on the cutting edge are swallowing ingestible smart pills containing minuscule sensors and transmitters to monitor a range of health data and wirelessly share this information with a doctor, The New York Times reports.
A pill made by Proteus Digital Health can track medication-taking behaviors, monitor how a patient’s body is responding to medicine, and detect the person’s movements and rest patterns.
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.
The CorTemp Ingestible Core Body Temperature Sensor pill, made by HQ Inc., has a built-in battery and wirelessly transmits real-time body temperature as it travels through a patient. A consumer version that wirelessly communicates to a smartphone app is planned.
Motorola is looking at improving on their cell-phone password by using electronic tattoos, swallowable pills, and other forms of authentication, Regina Dugan, the former DARPA head that now leads advanced research for Motorola, said at a recent All Things D conference.
But more powerful “fantastic voyage” type devices, including “micro-swimmers” and swimming robots, are in the research stage, such as the Cyberplasm, a tiny prototype robot that functions like a living creature. It’s being developed by bioengineer Dr Daniel Frankel of Newcastle University to pinpoint diseases in the human body (see “The ‘living’ micro-robot that could detect diseases in humans“on KurzweilAI).
It will combine advanced microelectronics with biomimicry (technology inspired by nature). The aim is for Cyberplasm to have an electronic nervous system, with “eye” and “nose” sensors derived from mammalian cells, as well as artificial muscles that use glucose as an energy source to propel it.
Other KurzweilAI posts on smart ingestibles and “swimming robots” are listed here.