Intelligent Pill Technology – The iPill

Imagine a pill that you swallow that intelligently works its way through your intestinal tract releasing pre-programmed quantities of medication at just the right locations for maximum effectiveness.  Imagine that while the pill is doing its job, the precise quantities dispensed can be controlled by a physician.  I give you the iPill from Philips.

This sounds like something out of the future, perhaps from Star Trek or some other futuristic novel.  But Philips is testing this iPill on animals and with any luck, if there is such a thing as luck in medical technology, it will be available soon for people.  It is designed to treat gastrointestinal disorders, and is no larger than an ordinary pill.

This amazing little pill contains a tiny computer, a wireless transmitter, and a series of sensors.  Before the iPill is swallowed, a doctor loads it with a program that instructs it where to deliver its contents.  The microprocessor monitors the pill’s location, using data on pH, temperature, and the time elapsed since ingestion, and then determines when and in what pattern the pill’s fluid pump will release drugs into the patient’s digestive tract.

The pH sensor helps the pill track its passage from the highly acidic stomach to the less acidic intestines.  The drugs stored in the pill’s reservoir can be released in a single burst or in a series of doses at multiple locations.  The iPill can communicate by radio frequency with a control device outside the body.

The advances in medical technology are absolutely amazing.  What next?  Will we someday be living to 200 years old?  Maybe, but that certainly would require a different retirement plan for some folks.

To read more, Read Philips iPill directly from the Philips company.

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