You know what makes doctors really frustrated? When you don't take your medicine. Or when you only take it "sometimes" or forget to finish the bottle. According to one study, patients taking their medicine the wrong way cause 40% of readmissions for heart failure. That's why a company called Proteus Biomedical has come up with the Raisin system: Pills that transmit information about when you take them, and about your body's response.
Each pill contains a grain-sized microchip, or "ingestible event marker" and a tiny battery. The battery (made from vitamin ingredients) is activated by water, so doesn't start running until you ingest it. Once activated, the pill sends a high-frequency electrical current through the body to a receiver patch on your chest.
The Raisin system has all sorts of advantages. For example, it could alert the family when Grandma forgets her pills in the morning. But unlike the MagneTrace system, it doesn't just monitor whether you're taking the pills, it also correlates your body's absorption of the medicine with your physiological response. That way, if the dosage isn't quite right, your physician can adjust it more precisely. While we're not quite sold on batteries made with "vitamin materials," the Raisin system presages a new era in medicine, where your drugs and your doctor can have a little chat about what your body's up to, and why.