Edible Electronics Will Spy On Your Intestines

Devices inside pills could monitor health issues or deliver targeted cancer drugs.

Robo-Nurse

Tavis Coburn

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University are developing edible electronic devices that could monitor health, deliver drugs, or stimulate damaged tissue in the gastrointestinal tract or small intestine.

Patients would swallow a pill containing the device. According to Christopher Bettinger, an assistant professor at CMU, the power sources for the devices would be made of flexible polymer electrodes and a sodium ion electrochemical cell. Once in place, the device could power biosensors to measure biomarkers, check for gastric problems, or aid in targeted drug delivery for certain cancers.

The very first digital pills, which tell doctors whether patients are taking their prescriptions correctly, were approved just last year.

Check out Bettinger's lab here.