The future of digital health tracking is a lot to swallow

An ingestible capsule may one day track your vitals from inside your body.

Have you ever looked at your Oura Ring or Apple Watch and thought, “I wanna swallow this”?

A blue and white capsule split open with a silver molecule emerging from the middle and a bunch of blue pills in the background.

Probably not — or so we hope — but there is a company taking health tracking even deeper.

Digital health company Celero Systems is developing an electronic pill that can measure heart rate, breathing rate, and core temperature from inside our bodies, per Wired.

This could have some pretty cool applications:

  • In a small clinical trial, the company found that the pill was nearly as accurate as the standard polysomnogram used for diagnosing sleep apnea.
  • The pill could be used for home monitoring, allowing doctors to catch irregularly occurring issues, like breathing problems from asthma or cardiac problems.
  • The capsule could potentially be able to detect overdoses and prevent related deaths by monitoring breathing and contacting emergency services.

To do all this, the pill, which is the size of a multivitamin, is filled with sensors, a microprocessor, a radio antenna, and batteries.

It remains intact as it passes through your digestive system, wirelessly transmitting measurements to a computer before its grand finale in the toilet bowl a few days later.

The tech isn’t without precedent

Ingestible health-tracking tech is already in use; similar devices can take photos of your gastrointestinal tract, monitor acid reflux, and track medication use.

But Celero’s pill overcomes one major obstacle: Our guts are nosy as hell.

The company’s signal processing techniques can separate heartbeats and breaths from digestive system sound waves, producing more accurate data.

As for what’s next…

… The company is trying to determine how to prolong the pill’s journey inside the body in hopes of taking its applications one step further: namely, to deliver overdose-reversing drugs the moment one is detected, an idea that’s been proposed as a solution for the opioid epidemic.

Anyway… Did this make anyone else think of that one episode of “The Magic School Bus”?

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