At the IDTechEx conference, RFID Europe in Cambridge, UK, 18-19 September, both Cypak of Sweden and Jos Geboers of The Compliers Group of the Netherlands announced improved smart blisterpacks that record which pills are removed when and have RFID for identifying the patient.
Cypak has a multipurpose chip that can embrace ISO 14443 and the NFC standards for phone interrogation, both at HF. The Compliers Group has a laminate that goes on any blisterpack to make it smart and this can also be interrogated by phones under the NFC HF standards but they also offer GPRS on GSM for data download.
Neither company is keen on traditional UHF RFID. Problems of interference were mentioned by Cypak.
Much lower cost: much wider adoption
Traditionally, smart blisterpacks have only been used for drug trials, to reduce the amount of corrupt data caused by patients taking their drugs at the wrong time or in the wrong amounts. This is because they have cost $15 to $25 each.
However, the new smart laminate from The Compliers Group only costs about five Euros and 20 - 30 Euro cents is in their sights when volume sales are established. This will be achieved by increasing the amount of printing in the device from just the sensors and interconnects today, a printed battery with an adequate one year life being in prospect and a printed HF antenna. Printed logic is a more distant prospect. The need is certainly there. Jos Geboers cited 150,000 dead in the EC and over 120 Billion Euro wasted per annum by people taking medication incorrectly and IDTechEx has seen similar figures estimated by healthcare professionals in the USA.
Indeed, The Compliers Group sees the basic system being used by other patients such as diabetics. Diabetes patients will measure their glucose levels and the value measured is transmitted via the same GSM devices to the server database.
The development path, in collaboration with the Holst Research Centre, a joint venture of IMEC of Belgium and TNO of the Netherlands, includes:
- Cheaper and smaller (even invisible)
- Creating a world standard
- Extra sophisticated features including sensor technology
Time to market will be 3-10 years and this is part of a wider program at Holst.
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