Google’s RFID pill: the difference between health and death

As society struggles with the privacy implications of wearable computers like Google Glass, scientists, researchers and some start-ups are already preparing the next, even more intrusive wave of computing: ingestible computers and minuscule sensors stuffed inside pills. http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/06/23/disruptions-medicine-that-monitors-you/?ref=technology  Some people on the cutting edge are already swallowing them to monitor a range of health data and wirelessly share this information with a doctor. And there are prototypes of tiny, ingestible devices that can do things like automatically open car doors or fill in passwords.   “You will — voluntarily, I might add — take a pill, which you think of as a pill but is in fact a microscopic robot, which will monitor your systems” and wirelessly transmit what is happening, Eric  E. Schmidt, the executive chairman of Google, said last fall at a company conference. “If it makes the difference between health and death, you’re going to want this thing.”
One of the pills, made by Proteus Digital Health, a small company in Redwood City, Calif., does not need a battery. Instead, the body is the power source. Just as a potato can power a light bulb, Proteus has added magnesium and copper on each side of its tiny sensor, which generates just enough electricity from stomach acids. It detects the person’s movements and rest patterns. Soldiers and astronauts have already used the device
In the next year, to have a consumer version that would wirelessly communicate to a smartphone app.
Future generations of these pills could even be convenience tools.  Once that pill is in your body, you could pick up your smartphone and not have to type in a password. Instead, you are the password. Sit in the car and it will start. Touch the handle to your home door and it will automatically unlock. “Essentially, your entire body becomes your authentication token,”

“The terrible (thing) is that health insurance companies could know about the inner workings of your body.” said John Perry Barlow, a founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a privacy advocacy group.

And the implications of a tiny computer inside your body being hacked? Let’s say they are troubling.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: