Hospitals in California are prescribing ingestible sensors. Bio-hackers are posting how-to videos for LED implants on YouTube. Our own Michael Sawh just used his own body for the purposes of investigating the future of smart pills for sports performance.
Ingestibles and implantables don't seem so sci-fi anymore. In fact, they've pretty much arrived.
But would you put a chip in your hand or wrist just to make swiping to pay on the metro a little quicker? Or would you want your GPS location to be guaranteed in case you ever needed a watertight alibi? After all, wearables can be taken off.
The line we draw as to how far we would go will vary between individuals and how likely they think it is that they'll be embroiled in accusations that can only be countered with sensors implanted into their actual flesh.
Maybe for you that's a smart contact lens, or a tech tattoo. And maybe in five years' time you'll give a very different answer to the one you'd give today. Especially if your healthcare is a consideration. Here's where we're at now.
WEAR - BodyCap e-Celsius
BodyCap's e-Celsius performance electronic pill is aimed at elite athletes and is able to send core body temperature to an external monitor every 30 seconds, once you've swallowed it. It could be used for temp monitoring in training, in competition or in recovery plus there's health benefits - the pill could be taken after a fever or during chemotherapy.
Interested? Read Michael's account of taking the smart pills and his interview with the company.
NEARLY THERE - Google's cancer fighting smart pills
Google's Verily spin off (previously) Life Sciences is working on a cancer detection solution that it says will be available in a matter of years, not decades.
A smart pill releases manufactured nanoparticles into the bloodstream which can find and then bind targeted cells. A wristband is then worn to magnetically attract the nanoparticles to analyse information about the cells. The future of medicine? Quite possibly.
SQUARE - Northstar V1
Now, we're not saying this isn't impressive. I mean, mad respect to the Grinder community. The Northstar V1 is a coin sized module with five red LEDs which light up under the skin when activated by a magnet. If you watch the video, you can see that the actual procedure to implant it looks pretty quick and painless.
But we don't think this is going to become particularly mainstream either. It's a bit extreme for most people and will probably stay where it should do, in this group of "benevolent researchers and explorers".