Feeds

FDA clears edible medical sensor for human consumption

System in a pill communicates via skin patch

Top three mobile application threats

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has officially cleared edible computers to be used in medical applications for monitoring patient health.

After four years of discussions, Proteus Digital has received approval for its Ingestion Event Marker, a silicon sensor about 1mm square that is encased in a pill and is meant to be swallowed. Once stomach acid reaches the sensor it acts as an electrolyte, generating 1-2 volts of power between the copper salt cathode and a magnesium anode.

While it carries no aerial itself, the chip emits a tone that can be picked up on a patch worn on the outside of the body. The patch then relays the sensor's data (along with heart rate and body movement of the patent) to a mobile phone with the right software application installed.

The sensor doesn't last long for sustained operation and is passed through the gut "like high-fiber food," according to the manufacturer. "We are very much looking forward to bringing the benefits of our ingestible sensor to the American public in the form of innovative product offerings," said Dr. George M. Savage, co-founder and chief medical officer at Proteus Digital in a statement.

Before you start getting images of a Fantastic Voyage scenario, the current technology that has been approved is very basic. The sensor is designed to ensure that medication is taken correctly and on time by providing a log of ingestion, and we're still years away from the medical robots that can maneuver through the body and perform repairs, as envisioned by some so-called technology gurus.

Nevertheless, the FDA approval is an important step in allowing the use of wetware, or implantable computers, to improve human health. The EU has already approved the Proteus Digital designs and certified them as safe for human use. With the FDA decision, the company now has access to the most expensive healthcare market in the world.

"The FDA validation represents a major milestone in digital medicine. Directly digitizing pills, for the first time, in conjunction with our wireless infrastructure, may prove to be the new standard for influencing medication adherence and significantly aid chronic disease management," said Dr. Eric Topol, professor of genomics at The Scripps Research Institute. ®

3 Big data security analytics techniques

More from The Register

next story
KILLER SPONGES menacing California coastline
Surfers are safe, crustaceans less so
Opportunity selfie: Martian winds have given the spunky ol' rover a spring cleaning
Power levels up 70 per cent as the rover keeps on truckin'
Liftoff! SpaceX Falcon 9 lifts Dragon on third resupply mission to ISS
SpaceX snaps smartly into one-second launch window
KILLER ROBOTS, DNA TAMPERING and PEEPING CYBORGS: the future looks bright!
Americans optimistic about technology despite being afraid of EVERYTHING
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
R.I.P. LADEE: Probe smashes into lunar surface at 3,600mph
Swan dive signs off successful science mission
Elon Musk's LEAKY THRUSTER gas stalls Space Station supply run
Helium seeps from Falcon 9 first stage, delays new legs for NASA robonaut
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.