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Robotic Pills May Soon Replace Conventional Medicines

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Mir Imran is the founder of InCube Labs, a company that holds 300 patents and is responsible for over 20 medical devices. Some of these products have been bought by big medical companies such as Medtronic Inc. One of their latest creations has the potential to radically change the way we take medicine in the near future.

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In the future, we may be using gadgets instead of chemical medications. The latest creation is a robotic pill which is designed to replace medications that have to be injected for chronic diseases such as diabetes. The pill is made of a safe-to-ingest polymer and has hollow needles made of carbohydrates. Funding for the commercialization of the robotic pill has already been secured from investors such as Google Ventures and VentureHealth. Human trials have yet to be performed, which means there is still atleast a year until the pill is approved by the FDA.

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Most medications for chronic diseases such as diabetes, osteoporosis and multiple sclerosis cannot be ingested since they are made of proteins and are broken down by the acids in the stomach before they reach the targeted area. Hence, the drugs have to be injected instead of ingested. But the robotic pill will act as a smarter delivery system which will keep its contents intact and protect them from the acids and enzymes in the stomach long enough to deliver the drug to the place where it is needed.

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The functions of the pill are activated by the digestive processes inside the body. Once the pill reaches the intestines, the pH spikes and this dissolves the outer layer of the pill, allowing previously separated chemicals such as sodium bicarbonate and citric acid, to mix. The reaction generates carbon dioxide which creates a bubble around the pill. The needle-shaped carbohydrates penetrate the walls of the intestine and safely release the drug.

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Many attempt have been made in the past to create insulin pills, but this robotic version seems to be the most promising. While previous pills could never deliver the original amount of insulin required, this robotic pill can theoretically deliver the entire dosage successfully. With technology like this, we are not far off from an era where our medication will have just as much technology in it as it has chemicals.

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