It’s called the Ingestion Event Marker (IEM), is made by Proteus Digital Health, Inc., has been available in Europe since 2011, and could turn out to be extremely helpful for people who have trouble remembering to take their medications. It’s a tiny sensor, the size of a grain of sand, which you ingest, either embedded in a pill or any other consumable. It’s then powered by the acid in your stomach and it communicates with the outside world through a patch that’s applied to the skin on your belly. It’s also excreted, you know, the normal way.
Not only can it tell you when or if you’ve taken your meds, it also transmits information about other physiological and behavioral metrics including heart rate, body position and activity. “Then the information can be sent to a mobile phone app to the patient, and, with the patient’s permission, their medical caregivers.” The idea is not to watch over patients and scream at them for not complying with their prescriptions, but to help doctors understand their habits and tailor dosages adequately. And well, maybe also scream a little. There’s no point in taking 70% of your antibiotics, dude. You’re just breeding for really strong bacteria that way.
There’s no word on cost.