Bio & Life Sciences

Digital Medicine: Diagnostic Stickers and Pills That Talk Back to You

MC10 CEO Dave Icke discusses his company's Biostamp technology at last year's Techonomy IOE Lab.

MC10 CEO Dave Icke discusses his company’s Biostamp technology at last year’s Techonomy Lab on the Internet of Things.

Often, the biggest battle in monitoring our health is remembering. Remembering to take our prescriptions every day (and ideally at the same time) to manage preexisting conditions. Remembering to track developing symptoms to diagnose new diseases. It’s a lot to remember, but there are plenty of apps out there to help us. Still, no matter how many apps we download, how can we be sure they actually get us to do what we’re supposed to? New sensor technology in the form of wearables—and even ingestibles—could increasingly play that role in our lives.

Developed by Proteus Digital Health, a new swallowable sensor stored inside prescription pills is making it possible to know for sure whether we’ve taken our medication by automating the tracking process, reports Smart Planet. Made in part of magnesium and copper, the sensor is activated when the metals react with the stomach’s acid. The sensor then sends signals to a wearable patch, which logs what time the medication was taken and the person’s heart activity, and uses Bluetooth to send that data to a smartphone app.

Other new wearable and ingestible technologies include MC10’s Biostamp, a wearable sticker that tracks tremors to diagnose epilepsy and Parkinson’s; HQ Inc.’s CorTemp, an ingestible thermometer that measures core temperature to prevent heat exhaustion; and Covidien GI Solutions’ PillCam, a pill that films as it passes through the colon to detect pre-cancerous polyps.

“Half of medications will be digitized by 2020—that’s our goal,” Proteus’ Arna Ionescu told Smart Planet.

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