Internal sensors (biosensors) – epidermal, ingestible, tissue-embedded, blood stream sensors

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Internal sensors (biosensors):

Epidermal sensors

Ultrathin ‘diagnostic skin’ allows continuous patient monitoring. Wearable skin sensors can monitor body signals with high sensitivity and wide dynamic range, enabling in vitro diagnostics and the use of therapeutic devices. A wide range of wearable electrochemical sensors and biosensors has been developed for real-time non-invasive monitoring of electrolytes and metabolites in sweat, tears, or saliva as indicators of a wearer’s health status.

It will be an entirely new approach to measuring body temperature — an ”electronic skin” that adheres non-invasively to human skin, conforms well to contours, and provides a detailed temperature map of any surface of the body

The device could potentially be used as a rapid screening tool to determine whether an individual should be further tested for disorders, such as diabetes or cardiovascular disease, that cause abnormal peripheral blood flow

It could also be a signal to doctors and patients about effects of certain medications.
In addition to heat, any type of sensors could be included, such as sensors that reveal glucose levels, blood oxygen content, blood cell counts, or levels of a circulating medication.

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Ingestible sensors

Ingestible sensors and smart pills will revolutionize healthcare. Ingestion monitoring systems have been approved and tested extensively.

For example, Proteus Digital Health has developed a system consisting of a smartphone, a sensor patch and a pill. Each pill contains a one-square-millimetre sensor that is coated in two digestible metals: magnesium and copper. These metals are not dangerous to consume because they currently exist in multi-vitamin supplements, as well as naturally in our diets. Upon swallowing, the sensor is activated by electrolytes within the body. The pill then transmits a signal to a small, battery-powered patch worn on the user’s torso and sends the data via Bluetooth to a caregiver’s or family member’s smartphone.

Systems like Proteus are meant to help for patients who forget or choose not to take their prescribed medications. There is also the possibility that patients are taking their medications incorrectly.

Now imagine swallowing a disposable pill instead of having an invasive colonoscopy procedure. Given Imaging, an Israeli company, has made this possible. The company has developed a battery-powered camera pill that can take high-speed photos of the intestinal tract. The device then sends the images to a second device worn around the patient’s waist and then to a computer or tablet to be reviewed by a doctor.

If swallowing a camera makes you feel squeamish, you might be relieved to learn that it has been approved by the US FDA. The PillCam COLON is intended for patients who have difficulties undergoing standard colonoscopies due to anatomy issues, previous surgery or various colon diseases. This non-invasive test can be used to remotely visualize the gastrointestinal tract and colon to detect polyps and identify the first signs of colorectal cancer.
Resource: MaRS

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Tissue-embedded sensors

These devices can be implanted into patients or used in the lab to study tissue responses to potential drugs.

Blood stream sensors

Tiny sensors floating in the blood stream can serve for signs of health problems, such as heart disease, Type 1 diabetes and cancer.