The ostensible purpose is to monitor whether the elderly and forgetful are keeping up with regimens. However, it’s easy to imagine a future in which criminals are paroled on the condition that they take behavior-altering drugs, et cetera. Via Nature:
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Digestible microchips embedded in drugs may soon tell doctors whether a patient is taking their medications as prescribed. These sensors are the first ingestible devices approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). To some, they signify the beginning of an era in digital medicine.
The sand-particle sized sensor consists of a minute silicon chip containing trace amounts of magnesium and copper. When swallowed, it generates a slight voltage in response to digestive juices, which conveys a signal to the surface of a person’s skin where a patch then relays the information to a mobile phone belonging to a healthcare-provider.
Eric Topol, director of the Scripps Translational Science Institute…says that the 2010s will be known as the era of digital medical devices.