One of the great things about miniaturization is that it allows us to swallow things that a few short years ago were just a wonderful dream, from microprocessors
to bowel scanners
. Now a Swiss pharmaceutical company called Novartis AG is developing the Ingestible Event Marker (IEM), a chip that can be embedded in medication and, upon being activated by the patient's stomach acid, will send the doctor biometric data that gauges the drug's effectiveness (including heart rate, body temp, and body movements) via Bluetooth. The plan is to introduce the technology to monitor transplant recipients, although it could be expanded to other uses as well. If bioequivalence tests demonstrate that the device doesn't alter the effects of the pills, you could see 'em submitted for regulatory approval in Europe in the next 18 months.