It appears that the digital age is about to manifest itself into our everyday medicine. The FDA has approved a new digital smart pill equipped with a tiny microchip that keeps track of your insides and relays that medical information back to your healthcare provider. These microchips will soon tell doctors and other medical personnel whether a patient is taking their medications properly and promptly.
About half of all people don’t take medications like they are supposed to, says Eric Topol, director of the Scripps Translational Science Institute in La Jolla,California. This device could be a solution to that problem, so that doctors can know when to rev up a patient’s medication adherence. It’s like big brother’s watching you take your medicine.
The science behind these digital pills is quite remarkable. They are grain sized particles that consist of a minute silicon chip. The chip contains trace amounts of magnesium and copper that, when swallowed, generates a slight voltage when it comes in contact to digestive juices. After the charge is produced, a signal is then conveyed to the person’s skin where a patch relays the information to the mobile phone or some other device of the health care provider. While these pills are only in the infancy stage, who knows what other capabilities that could be built into them.
But this is only the tip of the iceberg. These digital pills are just the beginning in a long line of digital alternatives to medicine. Plans are already underway for implantable devices that wirelessly inject drugs as needed or sensors that can deliver a person’s electrocardiogram to their doctor or their own smartphone.
One can only imagine the possibilities that this technological achievement will produce. A person digesting this simple smart pill, or having these other devices implanted in them, will soon have every kilobyte of their health information downloaded to their doctors, or perhaps a government agency. But what other applications can this wondrous device do? Drug addicts, or other serious criminals, could soon be observed so aggressively that one slight alteration in their bio chemistry could have local and/or federal agents pounding on their door within minutes. Drug tests would certainly become obsolete as your bio rhythms will be monitored on a daily basis. People with violent behaviors or under psychological treatment would be quickly subdued in case of an episode that could result in harm to others or to themselves. But what about the non-medical uses that this could mean? Any unsuspecting individual would be suitable for monitoring. Going to the pharmacy to pick up your allergy medication could result in you swallowing one of these digital pills and being watched by these unknown individuals and/or agencies. The sheer applications of this device would be absolutely extraordinary. But to what extent? While the forces that be might be able to disguise this as a breakthrough in medical technology the truth could be as plain as day: soon any individual will be available to be watched, located, monitored, and eventually controlled at any given moment. Whether you know it or not.