Forget wearing a health tracker. How about swallowing one?

At the recent Code/Mobile conference in Half Moon Bay, CA all eyes and ears were on Jawbone’s CEO Hosain Rahman. He spoke with Re/code’s Kara Swisher about how ingestible sensors could play an important role in the future of wearables.


Jawbone Up, the company’s smart fitness tracker syncs with an app and delivers personalized tips and reminders to help the user make healthier choices.While Jawbone is popular in the world of wearables,Rahman believes that in the future, people will be swallowing sensors that would be capable of actively monitoring factors from within the body.

These fitness sensors, once implanted or swallowed could remain in the blood stream and give valuable data about the user.Rahman cited a situation where it could potentially track the blood alcohol level and alert the user against driving under the influence of alcohol.

As technology gets more sophisticated, such sensors, as is their nature could also interact with a variety of  other devices and constitute an “Internet of Things” network.This network connectivity will in turn enable these devices to collect and exchange data.

Imagine a thermostat that could adjust accordingly to how clod or warm the user is feeling.This can also contribute significantly to the contextual health data that can be collected about the user, thus leading to quicker diagnosis, personalized treatment and course of action.

One step forward and one that solves the current challenge of ensuring that users take to wearables and wear it constantly.

But the idea of an ingestible sensor is not all that new.Take the Proteus Ingestible Sensor, for instance.It is FDA approved and is capable of monitoring medicine intake, steps, rest and heart rate.The sensor communicates with an adhesive patch worn on the torso.The patch can then transmit the data to a smartphone app through bluetooth; thus effectively combining ingestible, wearable, mobile and cloud computing.

So, not many years in the future, but ingestibles in the here and now.This is clearly an idea whose time has come. As Jawbone and other players invest resources into this exciting technology, its a development I will be closely following.

Are wearables overrated? Are they a fad or here to stay? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

Having caused quite a stir in the consumer space, wearables are already beginning to make their presence and value felt in the workplace too.But, where there is hype, there are challenges.

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