Miniaturization has always been a safe way to remarkable advances in microprocessor industry, allowing not only the manufacturing of microchips, but also a greater degree of integration for equipment with a high degree of complexity.
One of the areas that most benefit this is medicine, a domain in which miniaturization has enabled the creation of more sophisticated prostheses, and intelligent diagnostic equipment, small enough to fit inside a capsule.
One of the first companies to bring such devices in mass production is Novartis AG Sweden, with its “Ingestible Event Marker.” Small enough to be incorporated into the pill capsules, this microchip, activated after ingestion by contact with the stomach acids, may send biometric information to assess the effectiveness of the administered drug.
Parameters such as body temperature, heart rate and movements of the patient can be monitored, as information is transmitted in real time via Bluetooth.
Initially, this technology will be used only for monitoring high-risk patients such as those undergoing transplant operations, but could be extended to other areas.
If tests show that adding such microchips does not change the curative properties of pills, the product could be approved for general use in European countries over the next 18 months.