In the evolution of computing, from the desktop computer to the smartphone to the watch, it seemed like just a matter of time before the technology would come to be swallowable — and now it is.
The innovation at the heart of it is an FDA-approved ingestible sensor housed in pills, designed to help patients adhere to the medications their doctors prescribe. Except the sensor isn't powered by a battery, it's powered by the gut of the patient swallowing it, using technology discovered two centuries ago.
"We have a small, food-particle-sized piece of silicon, an integrated circuit, and on one side of that circuit is a film of copper, on the other side a very thin film of magnesium," explained Proteus Digital Health co-founder Dr. George Savage. "When you swallow, these minerals get wet and two dissimilar metals in aqueous contact define a battery, so you become a battery." From there, the powered pill sensor sends a signal to a patch worn on the body, which sends data via Bluetooth to a phone or tablet and on to the cloud for a doctor or caregiver. (Tweet This)