Proteus Digital Health have announced that the FDA has agreed to review it's "smart pill" that combines a schizophrenia medicine with tiny digestible sensor. When the pill reaches the stomach the pill sends a digital signal to a wearable patch that is plastered to the patient's skin. The patch then relays the signal (and combines it with other data collected by sensors on the patch such as heart rate and movement) to the patient's mobile phone. This information can then be sent by the phone to carers, doctors or researchers who want to monitor the patient.
This type of technology has many uses but could be used for helping conduct drug trials, where accurate data on how many pills are actually taken could affect the significance of reported results. It could also be useful for starting patients off on new drugs, where getting used to regularly taking pills at the correct time could be improved if carers and doctors know if there is a problem. By combining the medication adherence data with other data collected by the patch, scientists could gain new insights into how to better manage a wide range of conditions.
Proteus released a video last year about the device to show how the system works: