Implanted Reminder: (Micro)Chip On (or In) Your Shoulder


Remembering to take prescription pills every day can be hard for anyone, but it’s particularly challenging for elderly patients who may be getting a bit forgetful. Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis has proposed a nifty new way to remind seniors to take their pills on time: a microchip implanted in their shoulder that will react with the microchips in their medications. The tiny microchips won’t harm the human body in any way, and if the patient forgets their medication or takes the wrong dosage, an automated phone system will alert the patient or their health care worker.

johnny mnemonic

It sounds futuristic and vaguely Johnny Mnemonic-ish, but the system has already been through at least once successful trial. Over a six month period, the rate of patients taking their pills on time increased from 30 percent to 80 percent. A system like this has the potential to save countless lives as it keeps patients on track with their medically necessary medications. Novartis isn’t alone in the quest to help patients remember their pills: Pfizer recently came up with an automated phone system meant to remind patients when it’s time for their medications, though human implants are a slightly different upgrade.

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See more in Cybernetics or under Technology. September, 2009.