Ingestible Physiological Status Monitoring (PSM) Device (the "PSM Pill")

Technology #16636

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Schematic of an ingestible electronic device that concurrently measures heart rate (HR), breathing rate (BR), and core temperature (CT). Acoustic signals recorded from the microphone are fed through a low-pass filter (LPF) and band-pass filter (BPF) and then sent to a microcontroller that performs simple digital-signal processing (DSP) to determine HR and BR.The percentage difference between externally derived HR and BR data using gold-standard methods and internally derived HR and BR data from a phonocardiogram/average magnitude difference function signal processing analysis as recorded by an endoscopically guided microphone at all sites along a pig’s gastrointestinal tract. For each site, note the low percent error rates for both HR (blue) and BR (red).The ingestible electronic device can measure heart rate and respiratory rate from inside the gastrointestinal tract.
Professor Robert Langer
Department of Chemical Engineering, MIT
External Link (
Tadd Hughes
Lincoln Laboratory, MIT
Albert Swiston
Lincoln Laboratory, MIT
Gregory Ciccarelli
Lincoln Laboratory, MIT
Giovanni Traverso
Department of Chemical Engineering, MIT
Managed By
Ben Rockney
MIT Technology Licensing Officer
Patent Protection

Ingestible Devices and Methods for Physiological Status Monitoring

PCT Patent Application WO 2017-078822

Ingestible Devices and Methods for Physiological Status Monitoring

US Patent Pending


This invention provides real-time internal monitoring of vital signs with improved accuracy over external measurements, useful for field assessment of patients or home monitoring and management of chronic illnesses. This device may also be used for operational safety monitoring for military personnel or first responders, or to improve performance and safety for athletes. This device can detect a number of medical conditions including, sepsis, arrhythmias, aortic stenosis, hypertrophy, asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) exacerbations. 

Problem Addressed

Physiological status monitoring (PSM) systems can provide data for necessary preventative interventions, improved performance, risk mitigation, or monitoring of illness or after injury. Current PSM devices are less than ideal due to a number of limitations including limited battery life, poor signal fidelity, and general ergonomic obtrusiveness. This invention is an ingestible, minimally intrusive PSM device that measures heart rate, breathing rate, and core temperature for reliable and rapid monitoring of physiological status. 


This small ingestible PSM device enters the digestive tract as a pill and contains a thermistor to measure temperature and an electret hydrophone and processing circuitry to collect, amplify, and filter audio signals to derive heart and breathing rates from noisy data. The data is wirelessly transmitted to a receiver outside the patient. This device can collect data anywhere along the digestive tract regardless of contact with tissue. The PSM device can be either transient and excreted normally, or persistent and affixed in the digestive tract. The PSM device has a relatively long battery life of at least 4 days, but persistent devices may be powered through inductively coupled or wireless resonant recharging. 


  • Inexpensive 
  • Extended battery life with optional recharging capabilities
  • Operational anywhere in the GI tract and can be transient or persistent
  • Improved patient comfort
  • Measures true core temperature which isn’t currently obtainable except with rectal