Feeds

FDA clears edible medical sensor for human consumption

System in a pill communicates via skin patch

Bridging the IT gap between rising business demands and ageing tools

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. ®

Mobile application security vulnerability report

More from The Register

next story
Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 claimed lives of HIV/AIDS cure scientists
Researchers, advocates, health workers among those on shot-down plane
Mwa-ha-ha-ha! Eccentric billionaire Musk gets his PRIVATE SPACEPORT
In the Lone Star State, perhaps appropriately enough
All those new '5G standards'? Here's the science they rely on
Radio professor tells us how wireless will get faster in the real world
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
Microsoft's anti-bug breakthrough: Wire devs to BRAIN SCANNERS
Clippy: It looks your hands are shaking, are you sure you want to commit this code?
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.