MIT’s smart capsule could be used to release drugs in response to a fever

mit smart capsule fever wireless pill 0

With a few minor modifications, the experience of taking medication in either tablet or capsule form has stayed pretty much the same for more than 100 years. Things may be starting to change, however. Researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Draper, and Brigham and Women’s Hospital have developed a cutting-edge 3D-printed capsule controlled using Bluetooth technology. The capsule is designed to be ingested by a patient, after which it can transmit and receive information to and from the outside world. It can also be instructed to gradually release drugs over an extended period of time in response to symptoms.

The researchers demonstrated their next-generation drug capsule in a pig animal model. Through Bluetooth, the tiny Y-shaped capsule communicated the core body temperature of the pig and was triggered to carry out timed drug release.

“We see this system as one capable of serving as a platform for mobile health applications,” Giovanni Traverso, a visiting scientist in MIT’s Department of Mechanical Engineering, who officially joins the campus next year, told Digital Trends.

Traverso gave two illustrations of how an ingestible capsule such as this might be used. In one scenario, it could monitor a person’s core body temperature over multiple weeks, looking for signs of hypothermia (an unusually cold body temperature) or hyperthermia (an unusually high body temperature). In the event that this was discovered, it could then release a drug intended to aid in early intervention. In another scenario, it could be used to carry out temperature monitoring in patients at high risk of infection, such as those with heavily immunosuppressed immune systems.

The researchers plan to continue their research by developing a broader set of sensor systems, capable of measuring more than just core body temperature. In previous work, the team designed sensors able to detect vital signs including heart rate and breathing rate. Traverso said that clinical trials are planned for human subjects, although these are likely a few years away. “We aim to translate these technologies into human applications over the coming three to five years,” he said.

MIT is not the only group interested in similar technologies. In Australia, researchers have been working to develop ingestible sensors, designed to monitor gas biomarkers in the gut and transmit this data to mobile devices. While not quite ready for prime time, these smart capsules have already been put through a phase 1 trial on 26 healthy individuals to show their safety and efficacy.

It seems that this kind of science-fiction-sounding technology may not be quite so far off as we once thought!


The best CES 2019 health gadgets combat stress, pain, and more

We can all use some help with our health and CES 2019 was packed with intriguing devices designed to combat pain and stress, help you monitor blood pressure, reduce tinnitus, and care for the sick or elderly.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix, from 'Haunting of Hill House’ to ‘Norsemen’

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Emerging Tech

Stomach implant device uses jolts of electricity to fight obesity

An implant created at the University of Wisconsin-Madison could help fight obesity by attaching to users' stomachs and then suppressing feelings of hunger using jolts of electricity.

Baby, you can’t drive my cube: All the insane self-driving lounges at CES 2019

Why drive when you can ride? At CES 2019, car companies are showing off an array of self-driving shuttles, cars, and vans that promise to ferry passengers from Point A to Point B while they kick back and relax in comfort.
Emerging Tech

Watch China’s moon mission touch down on the planet’s far side

Video has been shared of a lander's-eye view of China's Chang'e 4 mission touching down in the Von Kármán Crater on the far side of the moon. The craft captured footage of the descent with a camera which was attached to the probe.
Emerging Tech

SpaceX nails its first launch and landing of 2019, but job cuts loom

SpaceX has nailed its first launch and landing of 2019 with a mission that deployed more satellites for Virginia-based Iridium Communications. But the success was soured somewhat by reports of upcoming job losses at the company.
Emerging Tech

The enormous ‘Flying Bum’ moves toward a commercial design

A prototype of the world's largest aircraft is being retired as the company behind it prepares to build a production model. The new Airlander 10, also known as the "Flying Bum," could be ready for commercial use by 2025.
Emerging Tech

Sick of walking everywhere? Here are the best electric skateboards you can buy

Thanks for Kickstarter and Indiegogo, electric skateboards are carving a bigger niche than you might think. Whether you're into speed, mileage, or something a bit more stylish, here are the best electric skateboards on the market.
Emerging Tech

The best 3D printers for 2019

On the hunt for a new 3D printer? We've got your back. Whether you're a beginner or a seasoned veteran, this list of the best 3D printers has what you're looking for.
Emerging Tech

Wish you could fly? You totally can with these top-of-the-line drones

In just the past few years, drones have transformed from a geeky hobbyist affair to a full-on cultural phenomenon. Here's a no-nonsense rundown of the best drones you can buy right now, no matter what kind of flying you plan to do.
Emerging Tech

Face-scanning A.I. can help doctors spot unusual genetic disorders

Facial recognition can unlock your phone. Could it also be used to identify whether a person has a rare genetic disorder, based on their facial features? New research suggests it can.
Emerging Tech

Lasers and bovine breathalyzer help determine how much methane cows produce

Cow farts and belches don't sound like catastrophic threats, but they contribute to the massive amounts of methane in the atmosphere. Recently, scientists set out to establish the numbers.
Emerging Tech

Researchers discover a way to make 3D printing 100 times faster using light

Researchers at the University of Michigan have invented a new method of 3D printing which is up to 100 times faster than conventional 3D-printing processes. Here's how it works and why it could prove a game-changer for 3D printing.
Emerging Tech

Why wait? Here are some CES 2019 gadgets you can buy right now

Companies come to CES to wow us with their cutting edge technology, but only a few products are slated to hit the market right away. Here is our list of the best CES 2019 tech you can buy right now.