This is interesting, from The Daily Mail (UK):
Microchips in pills could soon allow doctors to find out whether a patient has taken their medication.
The digestible sensors, just 1mm wide, would mean GPs and surgeons could monitor patients outside the hospital or surgery.
The ‘intelligent’ medicine works by activating a harmless electric charge when drugs are digested by the stomach.
This charge is picked up by a sensing patch on the patients’ stomach or back, which records the time and date that the pill is digested. It also measures heart rate, motion and breathing patterns.
The information is transmitted to a patient’s mobile phone and then to the internet using wireless technology, to give a complete picture of their health and the impact of their drugs.
Doctors and carers can view this information on secure web pages or have the information sent to their mobile phones.
There’s an obvious privacy discussion here. Furious Seasons takes a shot:
On one level, this kind of technology is fascinating and interesting for all the usual dorky techie reasons (wow, telemetry has gotten that advanced and so have transmission technologies–it’s all so very sci-fi and high tech triumphant), but on another more important level it’s downright frightening. That’s because I see this “intelligent medicine” technology as a potentially massive intrusion on individual freedom and privacy.
This example is indicative of the debate territory we are beginning to enter. The balance between life-improving-medical-innovation and privacy is becoming more difficult to strike (well, I suppose that depends on your definition of privacy).