Policy

"Edible Chips"

|

non-edible chips

When I saw this headline on Wired's list of top technology breakthroughs, I got excited because I thought maybe some scientists had found a way to make Baked Lays potato chips palatable. That didn't pan out, but this is pretty great, too:

Grandma's pillbox with the days of the week neatly marked is set to go high tech. Tiny edible chips will replace the organizer, tracking when patients take their pills (or don't) and monitoring the effects of the drugs they're taking. Proteus, a Redwood City, California, company, has created tiny chips out of silicon grains that, once swallowed, activate in the stomach. The chips send a signal to an external patch that monitors vital parameters such as heart rate, temperature, state of wakefulness or body angle.

The data is then sent to an online repository or a cellphone for the physician and the patient to track. Proteus says its chips can keep score of how patients are responding to the medication. That may be just the beginning, as the chips could improve drug delivery and even insert other kinds of health monitors inside the body….

The chips are still in clinical trials, but this could be a very powerful tool in personalizing medicine. Plus, giving patients online access to all their own data—paired with efforts like Google Health, which makes it easier to create and maintain portable records as well—means it will be easier for patients to leave bad doctors and try a different doc.