Edible RFID embedded microchips
Edible RFID embedded microchips

(RFIDWorld.ca) Researchers from the University of Florida have introduced new RFID microchips that are combined with nano-particle antennas, which are able to communicate with laptops or cell phones to monitor if any given patients have taken their medicine.  This allows doctors to efficiently keep track of their patient’s records.

This new method is still a prototype and researchers are hoping that it can be combined with many types of medications for different patients whether from clinical trials or patients with chronic diseases in which it is important for patients to take their daily doses on time as well as the correct amount.

The pill, a white capsule has a microchip embedded inside of it in addition to an antenna containing silver nano-particles on the outside.  Low voltage bursts of electricity energize the microchip that is worn by the patient.  A signal from the chip confirms that the pill is in the patient’s stomach and that the patient has swallowed the pill.  These messages in turn can go to doctors or family member’s cell phones to inform them that the pill has been swallowed by a patient.

The printed antenna dissolves in the stomach leaving traces of silver which are less than what we consume from tap water.  The chip passes through the patient and is eliminated via the gastrointestinal tract.

Simulated stomach acids were used by researched to test how well the silver on the antennas breaks down and to determine what if any residue is left in the body.  Models that are similar to humans or cadavers were used to do such testing.

Rizwan Bashirullah, an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at University of Florida and who led the research said that patients in hospitals frequently forget to take their pills or adamantly refuse to take pills so this new technology will aid in eliminating or at least decreasing related issues.  This in turn can reduce the likelihood of complications that are expensive to the hospital or patients family.  On top of that, the patient’s health can be in danger if their medication intake is not monitored closely.  The National Science Foundation provided grants of $700, 000 to the Convergent Engineering and the Florida High Tech Corridor Council.

A spinoff University of Florida company is seeking to get a FDA testing opportunity with a pill.  They have applied for patents on the pill.

The number one problem to treating illness is the failure to take prescriptions on schedule, according to a study done by the Heart Association.

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