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Edible technology relays medical data from inside the body
Published on 01-21-2009
Source: The Standard
Proteus Biomedicals, a company in California, has developed an intelligent pill that sends digital signals to an external receiver after being swallowed. The pill still works as an ordinary drug that a patient might take to control a health issue such as heart trouble or a psychiatric disorder. But it also has digestible sensors that are made of food products and are activated by stomach fluids. Once swallowed, the sensors can send a digital signal through the body to a receiver. The receiver date- and time-stamps, decodes, and records information about the drug and the dosage. It also measures and reports heart rate, activity, and respiratory rate. Qualcomm is helping connect the receivers, designed as small bandage style skin patches, to 3G phone networks, USA Today reported recently. Patient information can then be sent to hospitals, doctors or relatives. "We believe we have figured out a way for us to bring this to market with a wide variety of pharmaceutical products," perhaps by 2011 or 2012, Proteus CEO Andy Thompson told USA Today. The cost will be fractions of a penny per pill, the article reported.