Your next pharmaceutical prescription could be a pill that transmits important data, possibly saving you from a severe health issue or helping you to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Wearables Are Everywhere
It’s fast becoming the standard to keep track of your vital statistics and general well-being through wearable technology. There are wrist bands, smart watches, glasses, and gadgets galore that can track heart rate, measure blood pressure, act as an EKG monitor, and improve everything from your driving and fuel consumption to your golf, tennis, or baseball swing. You can even transmit information to your devices through an ingenious ring by writing instructions in the air. Pretty impressive.
Data from a Pill
What you may not have heard about yet is ingestible technology. Tiny pills, equipped with even tinier computer chips that collect and transmit data by traveling down your esophagus to explore and relay a wealth of information back to your computer, your phone, or your physician about what’s going on inside your body. The chips are miniature square millimeter sandwiches of copper and magnesium, activated when swallowed as stomach acids give the signal. The chips transmit internal data to a patch on the skin’s surface, which then broadcast the data to healthcare teams.
Smart pills are adept at a multitude of tasks, including proof that you’ve taken medication on time. They can also carry your entire medical history in a subdermal transponder, flow with your bloodstream to warn of impending coronary issues, warn of infection, and carry out dozens of other assignments.
Think of the ways automobiles now warn us of impending problems through the use of chips and sensors and translate that to wearable health technology. The field is on fire with startups, research, and ideas, but it is also challenged by questions about privacy and side effects.
En Route to the Market
Intentions are good, overall, but it is conceivable that someone could end up with a chip in their body that they do not want but are unable to dispel. Or that someone could hack into the data and use it for less than honorable purposes. As you might expect, that is a concern garnering significant, informed debate. Still, the technology is heavy with benefits, and the research is ripe for approval, with testing already underway. Expect the smart pill as a data source to go mainstream soon. It will help many of us monitor important health details in preventive, maintenance, and healing roles.