The Future Is Here: You Can Swallow Computers Now

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It’s official, we are living in a bizarre Jetson’s future age. Doctors and scientists have worked together to create an ingestible computer, that basically puts Google Glass to shame. The pill-form objects contain tiny sensors that help monitor the health of your body. The pills can collect data on how your systems are running, and transmit that information back to an external computer.

Several companies are currently working on pill prototypes. Just this last year, Proteus Digital Health raised more than $60 million dollars to create their version of a computer pill, which is actually powered by the body. Rather than an internal battery system, the pill has copper and magnesium ends which generates electricity to power itself via stomach acids. The Proteus model requires that users wear a special patch that transmits information from inside the body to a cell phone app that tracks everything from blood pressure to body temperature to movement and rest patterns.

The development could have huge implications for everything from the monitoring of heart disease and diabetes, to the progress of schizophrenia or Alzheimer’s. That’s great news for people who have chronic diseases that need to be managed; doctors and family members could potentially be connected to the system to help monitor the health of a loved one.  But it also could spell trouble when it comes to privacy issues surrounding health information. After all, some of this data could be used to justify dropping or denying physically compromised patients from their insurance plans.

But if you want more shocking future news, Motorola is working to create a pill that would help identify and track you so that you could be physically linked to your electronic devices. At a conference last month, Regina Dugan, senior vice president of Motorola’s advanced technology and products group, discussed a pill prototype that would wirelessly link users to everything from their phones to their cars to their home security devices. Having trouble picturing it? Imagine that simply by touching the handle of your door you’re able to automatically unlock it. Or simply by siting in your car you’re able to turn it on. “Essentially, your entire body becomes your authentication token,” said Dugan.

Pretty intense, right?

If you could swallow a pill to monitor your health––or wirelessly connect you to your cell phone––would you?

[New York Times]

[Pill photo courtesy Shutterstock]

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