When I was contemplating an onboard robo-doctor last year, I was envisioning a surgically implanted device:
Such a device could become an onboard doctor, pharmacy, and drug manufacturer. It could diagnose a problem, prescribe a solution, manufacture, and release. Perhaps it could also insure that you get perfect nutrition from a less-than-perfect diet.
It’s too good an idea not to be invented. But surgically implanted devices are problematic. Any malfunction would tend to require surgery to fix â€“ even replacing batteries would be a problem. Fortunately there’s a better idea being worked on.
IntelliDrug is an IST Program project to develop a device for controlled drug delivery that is the size of a tooth (it may be as large as several molars). The IntelliDrug device would be implanted in the mouth of a patient, where it could provide regular, measured doses of medication.
The IntelliDrug micro-system will consist of the following elements:
- a medication release mechanism
- built-in microprocessor for decision-making and dosage program
- micro-sensors capable of determining concentration of selected medications in the blood stream.
- micro-actuators to release standard quantities of medication
- a reservoir for selected medications
- Full dentition (chewing surface) maintained.
The IntelliDrug device will work with a remote control to inform the patient and physician if the drug container needs to be refilled. The medication from the device can either enter the oral cavity and mix with saliva to be swallowed by the patient, or can be administered directly into the patient’s bloodstream via the “root” of the tooth.
Brilliant. The system I was thinking about would have to manufacture (presumably via an onboard nanofactory) necessary medicines. Since a tooth could be easily replaced periodically, it would just hold and dispense medicine. Spooky nanotech would not be needed.
This is personalized medicine. Periodically you’d go to your pharmacist to replace your teeth. You turn in the old teeth to be refilled/recharged.
And why not make one tooth a cellphone, MP3 player, and onboard Internet connection?