Commercialization Success Requires Patience
The patented, U.S. Food and Drug Administration-regulated thermometer pill was invented in the late 1980s to monitor the body temperature of astronauts during space flight. NASA had teamed up with Johns Hopkins University to develop what was then called the Ingestible Thermal Monitoring System. The ingestible thermometer pill has been a great example of successful transfer from space to Earth applications – and how long that success can take.
Licensed by HTI Technologies (now known as HQ Inc.) in 1988, the ingestible pill technology today is used to monitor the core body temperatures of anyone from firefighters battling blazes to athletes to patients undergoing heart surgery. The pill wirelessly transmits core body temperature as it travels through the human digestive tract, but the same technology has also been used to monitor critical temperatures in such diverse industries as paper manufacturing and food processing.
HQ Inc. received a flurry of positive media coverage in 2006, including stories with WIRED Magazine, NBC Nightly News, Good Morning America, and USA Today. Most recently, Raleigh's News & Observer posted a story about how the thermometer pill is being used to help UNC's coaches monitor the health of their players to prevent the onset of heat-related illnesses.
So this success was 15 to 20 years in the making. Was the wait worthwhile? I suspect the people at NASA and HQ Inc. would say “Yes”.
—By Laura Schoppe
CorTemp™ is a trademark of HQ Inc.