Fitness Ingestibles and Embeddables are Here!

Embeddables photo

Everything’s getting smart. The way we tell time, use our cell phones, count steps taken and calories burned, measure heart rates and depth of sleep….things that once took much more time and may have even been impossible are now instantaneous, accessible and very possible.

We’ve discussed the various types of wearables in previous blogs. This category includes smartwatches, wearables that monitor heart rates and oxygen intake, trackers that count steps walked or run, distance swam and etc. Newer technologies include clothing with sensors that can monitor perspiration to evaluate stress levels. Other wearables can help prevent falls in the elderly. The information gathered with these devices is transmitted to smartphones and remote diagnostic facilities.

The fitness technology market is booming and will only continue to boom. According to the FCC, we may be looking soon at a widespread use of “smart” clothes and “smart” tattoos. These are devices that use skin-based sensors that measure and monitor blood pressure, heart rate, respiration, etc.

Let’s look at two of these new technologies.


Ingestibles are exactly what they sound like: monitoring and tracking tools that are ingested. These include “smart” pills that use wireless technologies to monitor internal reactions to medications or that can track levels of medication in the blood. On the horizon are tiny pill-shaped video cameras that can improve the way colonoscopies and endoscopies are conducted.

BodyCap has an electronic pill that is able to send core body temperatures to an external monitor every 30 seconds. Looking ahead, Google’s Life Sciences is working on a cancer-detecting solution in the form of a smart pill that finds and binds targeted cells. This pill is taken in conjunction with wearing a wristband that can magnetically attract nanoparticles. The information about the cells is then analyzed.

Another example of an ingestible is the Proteus Ingestible Sensor. This is an FDA-approved device that monitors medicine intake, rest, heart rate and steps. This information is then transmitted to a smartphone app via Bluetooth.


Embeddables are being used in sports, for infant monitors, and in medical diagnostics. These tiny devices are inserted under the skin to do things like measure blood sugar levels in diabetics. Pacemakers are types of embeddables. In the future, embeddables using nanotechnology will be injected into our bodies.

An example of embeddables is a module called Square, designed by Northstar V1. This is a coin-sized device with five red LEDs that light up under the skin once activated by a magnet. MC10 and Reebok have created Checklight. Checklight is a multiple sensor skullcap for athletes to wear under their helmet to capture head impact data.


As easy, convenient and available as wearables are, some people are wanting even MORE ease and convenience. As Jawbone’s CEO, Hosain Rahman, points out:

“The first thing you have to crack through is actually getting people to wear [the device].  If you can keep it on all the time, the amount of information you get about the user is staggering. What better way to ensure we always have a device on than to swallow it?”

What better way indeed?


Image Credit: Fortune

Post by Andrea Rogers