A Pill That Confirms It's Been Swallowed
Life would be a lot easier for doctors and researchers if they could make sure that patients actually take the medications they're prescribed. When people forget to take their medications, or don't take them on schedule, that can lead to unnecessary hospital visits and disrupt clinical trials. So it's good news that some engineers at the University of Florida have created a pill that can transmit a wireless signal confirming it's been swallowed.
Bashirullah, doctoral student Hong Yu, UF materials science and engineering Professor Chris Batich and Neil Euliano of Gainesville-based Convergent Engineering designed and tested a system with two main parts.One part is the pill, a standard white capsule coated with a label embossed with silvery lines. The lines comprise the antenna, which is printed using ink made of nontoxic, conductive silver nanoparticles. The pill also contains a tiny microchip, one about the size of a period.When a patient takes the pill, it communicates with the second main element of the system: a small electronic device carried or worn by the patient .... The device then signals a cell phone or laptop that the pill has been ingested, in turn informing doctors or family members.The patient's stomach acid breaks down the antenna and the microchip passes through the digestive system. The pill hasn't been tested in living people yet (just "artificial human models" and cadavers) but if it works, it seems like this would be one advance in medical technology that both helps keep people alive and reduces health-care costs.Via PSFK