FDA just approved pill with computer chip inside

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Are you forgetful about taking your meds?

Never fear! Enter the age of Digital Healthcare!

Here’s this new-fangled nifty little pill imbedded with a computer chip that’ll help you keep track of your meds! All because we just want to help you!

Erin Kim reports for CNN Money, Aug. 3, 2012, that a medical tech startup named Proteus Digital Health in the California S.F. Bay Area town of Redwood City, scored a big victory this week when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted approval for the company’s “ingestible sensor” invention. It’s a 1 square millimeter computer chip — roughly the size of a grain of sand — imbedded into a pill which can relay information about your insides to you, and if you choose, to your doctor or nurse.

When you swallow the imbedded pill of your medication of choice, it will go to work inside you, recording the time you took your dose. It transmits that information through your skin to a stick-on patch, which in turn sends the data to a mobile phone application and any other devices you authorize.

Andrew Thompson (pic on left), the kind and oh-so-helpful CEO and cofounder of Proteus, explains that the “system device” chip-inside-a-pill is intended to overcome our forgetfulness. “People live busy and complex lives, and as a result often don’t take their medicines correctly,” Thompson says. “We wanted to develop a solution that would help make existing medicines more effective in real life.”

The European Union (of course!) approved Proteus’ “system device” in 2010. The company plans to bring its first product, called “Helius,” to market later this year in the U.K. in partnership with the Lloydspharmacy chain.

Helius includes Proteus’ mobile health app, a supply of its stick-on patches (they last 7 days, then need replacing) and a stash of its sensor-equipped placebo chips. The company declined to comment on the system’s planned price tag.

Clockwise from left: mobile app, a stick-on patch that tracks your body data, pills with embedded chips.

The first wave of Proteus products will rely on placebo pills taken at the same time as the patient’s medication. The company hopes to eventually get its sensors built straight into common medications, Thompson says.

Proteus’ spent four years working through the FDA approval process. Now that it’s got a green light, it plans to begin working on a U.S. version of its Helius system.

The dictionary gives 3 definitions for “proteus”:

  1. The satellite of Neptune that is 6th in distance from the planet.
  2. A sea god in Greek mythology who could change his shape at will.
  3. A gram-negative, rod-shaped bacteria of the genus Proteus, certain species of which are associated with human enteritis and urinary tract infections.

The word “helius” is the Latinized version of “Helios,” which is the sun god in Greek mythology. Given that, the “proteus” of the medical tech company Proteus Digital Health probably refers to the mythological Greek sea god who could change his shape at will.

A pill with an imbedded computer chip that could change its shape at will. Hmmm….

Would I swallow such a pill?

Not on your life.


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0 responses to “FDA just approved pill with computer chip inside

  1. Never, never, never will I do this!

  2. I just want to go someplace and hide from all this, but where?

  3. What about those chips getting into our water & sewer systems when expelled from your body? (Beyond the tracking creepy factor.) There is already a problem with residual drugs in our infrastructure systems and how to treat them (remove/destabilize) in order for water/reclaimed water to meet EPA regs.

    Wonder if the FDA has given that any thought…

    • Good point, DCG! Already, we are told that birth control pills (that passed through women into urine) and plastics are resulting in a lot of estrogen in water and increasing feminization of many species, including shrinking testicles in the human male. Then, there’s nano particles — a true nightmare.

    • Hardnox – plenty of drugs still in our water/sewer systems. I worked for engineering firm that had to deal with this. Estrogen is a big prob, as Eo said. As well as many types of antibiotics, mood enhancers, chemo meds, etc. Even desalination and reverse osmosis can’t get rid of all drug residuals.

  4. More data for NSA to monitor through Stellar Wind. Yikes!

  5. I can’t think of one good reason to allow this chip to pass thru the human body. And who is to say it does not have a tracking and ID feature. Looks like uncle Sam is super interested in people control.

  6. Wasn’t the name of the submarine ship that was shrunk to a pinpoint in the story of “Fantastic Voyage”?

  7. It’ll make it easier to spot you in the dark, Terry. You’ll be the eerie green blob, like those glow-in-the-dark cats! 😀

  8. Does the pill also remind you to vote “progressive” or give to the correct causes or spew the correct rhetoric to your friends?

  9. Oh wow, I just had a flash regarding all those side effects they list very quickly at the end of those drug commercials. This one would be hysterical. “May cause diminished mental capacity, uncontrolled leftward movements, spontaneous “Bidenisms” and decreased self thought. Do not take this medication if you plan on going to Heaven.”

  10. Dennis H Bennett

    Hey Grouchy:
    I think I’ll market Cabbage laced with salmonella alongside this Freudian “advance” in healthcare.

  11. Thank you Dr. Eowyn for this informative post. All I can say is, GOD HELP US!!!!! This is horrible and frightening!

  12. This is so Orwell-ish…so post-apocalyptic! I don’t even own a cell-phone because of the GPS possibilities. Now I guess I’ll have to scan everything I consume.

  13. Pingback: One Pill Makes You Larger and One Pill Makes You Small | medtechpres

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