Good points, Beth. Yet even without smartphones could probably access the signal through a laptop. The message from the patch on the skin could be sent to any number of devices with little adjustment from the manufacturer.
Regarding the statement made about privacy concerns, ("There have been some red flags raised over the potentially invasive nature of integrating a digital tracking device into a medication.") Have you ever noticed that most people who object to privacy issues are usually doing something illegal-? Like illegal drug trafficking, for example. Legitimate users of this technology should have no objections; and if they do there are several links in the communication chain they can easily unplug, such as the WiFi link outbound from the mobile phone app. Sheesh. Some folks would complain over a winning Lotto ticket...
Pharmacology is the applied science of chemistry, taking known chemical compounds and subjecting them into environments where they will chemically react in an expected and repeatable manner. All medications work this way. The essential point of this innovative technology is the same, as the article points out: "...the size of a grain of sand, it includes two elements found in food: magnesium and copper. The two metals act as electrodes to form an electrochemical reaction when they contact stomach fluid." This is an epiphany; taking common electronic elements and placing them into a biological environment, yielding repeatable expected results. Absolutely phenomenal discovery. Kudos to the researchers and to the FDA for approving this.
It is very nice to see innovation that falls in line with the larger trend of caring and nurturing that we see throughout the world right now. As the article mentioned, this is very helpful for patients who are busy or forgetful. It's good for caregivers.
One other thought I had was that this could help with prescription fraud. Recreational use of prescription drugs is at an all-time high. Inconsistencies or someone refusing to use this could send a warning signal.
This is so much more important than all the debate about how to "fund" medicine. There are lots of issues in that arena. Progress will be made through technology.
Over the past couple of years I have seen Martin Cooper, one to the developers of the first hand held cell phones at Motorola. During his standard speech Marty talks about combining medical sensors with communication technology to improve care. This is the realization of that vision.
Design News has recently featured articles about robotic surgery as well. Most fields of human endeavor have been made more efficient through design and technology. Currently, medicine is like policing. It's main effectiveness is evident after one has become ill. We need to use what we know to forestall that event, if possible.
While this development seems somewhat surreal, I have no doubt that in a short amount of time, this will be the norm. The technology is so ready for this kind of application and the integration with smart phones and apps is a perfect complement. The only rub I see (beyond the one raised in the piece about whether ingesting a sensor is actually wise) is that most elderly or folks that might take advantage of this likely don't have smart phones. That said, their care givers most likely do and a few years out from now, the level of adoption will be extended further. Very cool innovation.
A new service lets engineers and orthopedic surgeons design and 3D print highly accurate, patient-specific, orthopedic medical implants made of metal -- without owning a 3D printer. Using free, downloadable software, users can import ASCII and binary .STL files, design the implant, and send an encrypted design file to a third-party manufacturer.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.