In terms of collecting reliable data, there's a big problem with wearables: wearing them. All the time. We humans can't reliably remember to take our vitamins or pocket our house keys, so we can hardly be expected to always wear a watch or use a sleep tracker.
Jawbone is on it. "If you can keep it on all the time, the amount of information you get about the user is staggering," Hosain Rahman, the company's co-founder and chief executive told a conference earlier this month. Staggering, and very, very useful. The maker of the Jawbone Up is actively working on the future of trackers, and more than likely in the areas Rahman predicted would be big in the future.
Rahman envisions a world where humans ingest sensors that "pass through you," ostensibly meaning they live for a short time within your digestive system. Others, he predicted, could perhaps be extraordinarily tiny and stay within your bloodstream for a longer duration. Per Fortune:
The goal would be to collect intimate details about how efficient--or inefficient--various body parts are functioning. For example, Rahman described a situation where a bloodstream sensor could potentially detect a user's blood alcohol level and, if over the legal limit, prevent an individual from operating a vehicle.
This isn't some arbitrary stab at futurism by an ambitious founder. In his appearance at Re/Code's Code/Mobile conference, Rahman also seemed to be positioning Jawbone as less of a hardware company in the future, and more of a software maker. Meaning, it is diversifying. And maybe it already doesn't want its future customers of ingestibles to be thinking too hard about that tiny robot or microchip they are swallowing.
Other companies are on this, too. Google has already admitted it is working on an ingestible device of sorts for detecting cancer and other diseases. The Google ingestible (your clever name here) would work at the cellular level, and could lead to speedier diagnoses and treatments. The FDA has approved an ingestible sensor that can be embedded in pills (it basically detects the fact that it has been ingested, and communicates with a patch worn by the pill-taker, which then communicates with a smartphone app via bluetooth). There's another, more invasive --though less so than a colonoscopy--and larger robotic pill recently approved by the FDA that takes a series of pictures when passing through the digestive system.
And it's not just the FDA . The FCC has a task force dedicated to the issue. Well, to the issue of raising "consumer awareness about the value of broadband in the health and care sectors," which doesn't sound as sexy, but is still up on the issue of letting humans eat tiny robots to monitor their health.
On its website, the FCC notes: "imagine a smart pill that tracks blood levels of medications in a patient's body throughout the day to help physicians find optimum dosage levels, avoid overmedicating, and truly individualize treatment."
Free business idea: A new ingestible pill to counteract the tech-induced hypochondria sure to be induced by all the tiny robots that may be swimming around our bodies--making us their cyborg homes--in the near future.