A Pill That Talks Back Using RFID
For the 70 million Americans who suffer from gastrointestinal diseases – and rack up $100 billion in medical costs each year – a better solution is at hand: the SmartPill.
This device doesn’t deliver drugs; rather, it provides information about acidity, pressure, temperature, and digestive activity from inside your intestines. The data is transmitted wirelessly via RFID to a 5” x 4” receiver worn around the patient’s neck or waist during the pill’s trip through the gastrointestinal tract. From there it can be downloaded to a doctor’s laptop.
The transmitter’s broadcast range is 5 feet, so a patient can remove the receiver to sleep or shower. Two tiny batteries power all of the pill’s components for at least five days which are etched onto a single, custom-made chip.
The swallowable, vitamin-size sensor is FDA-approved and uses patented microelectromechanical systems technology to provide a digital map of the patient’s entire GI tract. This information enables a gastro- enterologist to precisely locate an area of abnormality and assist in the diagnosis of GI diseases and disorders. The patient benefits from an accurate diagnosis, better treatment at a lower cost, and a non-invasive approach to GI exploratory examinations.
That may sound like overkill, but compare it with other diagnostic systems for GI diseases, such as feeding patients radioactive meals and sticking tubes down their throats for measurements.
“Many people just suffer in silence instead,” says David Barthel, SmartPill’s president and CEO. “These patients will often run through all these procedures and it could take anywhere from six months to two years to accurately diagnose a patient.”
The company’s bionic pill is designed to replace this hodgepodge of tests, helping doctors diagnose the condition within days. The SmartPill is expanding into new markets too, including veterinary and pharmaceutical companies interested in using the product in drug trials.
Source: Business 2.0