Philips iPill Targets Medicine at Specific Areas, Measures Acidity

November 13 2008 / by John Heylin
Category: Gadgets   Year: 2008   Rating: 5 Hot

Although camera pills have been around since 2001, Philips recently unveiled the next generation of swallowable gadgets. Called the iPill, it is able to deliver medicine to specific areas of the intestinal tract as well as measure the acidity levels of its environment. “In the form of an 11×26 mm capsule, the iPill incorporates a microprocessor, battery, pH sensor, temperature sensor, RF wireless transceiver, fluid pump and drug reservoir.” It’s also small enough to pass through your intestinal tract without causing any issues.

Although it determines its location by measuring PH levels (which is accurate enough already), Philips expects iPills to get more accurate when combined with medical imaging devices such as MRIs or CT scans. The iPill could come in especially handy when Crohn’s disease or colitis is involved — typical medicine for sufferers involve lots of steroids and has many adverse side-effects. The direct delivery of medicine with the iPill means medicine levels can be lower, reducing unpleasant side-effects.

How will this affect me?

The thing about the iPill is that it’s designed for medicine in the intestinal tract and passes through naturally. This limits it to use for pretty specific intestinal problems. If a pill could be outfitted with nano-flagella designed to attach to intestinal walls or steer, you could possibly have a pill which stays in the system longer and to deliver medicine over a period of time. Video could also be handy in finding specific problem areas on the intestinal wall — doctors could steer the pill to one area, dispense medicine, and move on much like a video game console.

The iPill is just the beginning of more accurate medicine being delivered to the body.

images courtesy Philips Research

Comment Thread (1 Response)

  1. This is the first time that I’ve heard of a camera pill, so this next generation gadget pill is somewhat of a surprise. This seems really interesting. While it’s great that there are no serious issues when it’s released into the intestinal tract, there’s a lot of potential for the iPill. Hopefully, the medicine that’s being released into the body via pill will be able to reach further beyond the intestine.

    Posted by: christinep   November 17, 2008
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