A daily shot is still the most effective, if most uncomfortable, form of treatment for many people with a chronic illness. Most pills work too slowly to be of much use for, say, someone with diabetes. But one company is planning a solution: packing ultrasound tech into a pill to orally deliver drugs as efficiently as a shot.
The idea isn't new, but the size and scope of it is. Ultrasounds can heat up molecules in skin tissue, creating a more permeable space for drugs to pass through. The staff at biomedical engineering company Zetroz have taken that and created the uPill, an ultrasound-powered pill that can speed up the drug absorption process. A person would swallow the pill, coated in the necessary drug, and ultrasound waves would prime the stomach for absorption. After that, the pill would pass through the digestive system.
The uPill is going through animal testing right now, but there are still practical barriers to human use.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.