Edible drug-tracking microchips to be unveiled in UK by year’s end
by: Ethan A. Huff
Friday, January 20, 2012
Imagine a world where the government monitors everything you eat and drink, and makes sure you take all your pharmaceutical drugs by feeding you an edible microchip that transmits this compliance information remotely to authorities. Such a world is almost a reality, as a California-based biotechnology company is about to unveil an edible microchip tracking device in the UK that monitors patients’ compliance with prescribed drug regimes, and sends this information to family members and caretakers.
The UK’s Independent says Proteus Biomedical, the company responsible for making the edible microchip, has formed a commercial partnership with Lloyds pharmacy, a UK pharmacy and healthcare provider, to begin selling the tiny chips to patients by year’s end. Smaller than a grain of sand, the tiny chip will monitor which drug pills are taken, and electronically send this information to patches worn on patients’ arms. The patches will then send the information to the mobile phones of patients’ relatives and physicians.
The chips are reportedly made of “ingredients commonly found in food,” and are layered with copper, magnesium, and silicon components. When consumed along with pharmaceutical drugs, these chips are activated by stomach acids, which causes them to generate electric currents marked with specific signatures that match the drugs taken. When the process is complete, parties receiving the information will know whether or not patients took their medications, and at what time they took them.