History of the Smart Pill

Generic Use of the Phrase Smart Pill

Smart Pill
Smart pill. Conceptual computer artwork of two brains inside a capsule, representing a smart drug in an easily administered form. Smart drugs aim to stimulate regions of the brain, such as the temporal and frontal lobes, in order to improve intelligence, memory formation, and concentration. Getty Images

The name of smart pill now refers to any pill that can deliver or control its delivery of medicine without the patient having to take action beyond the initial swallow.

The phrase smart pill became popular after the computer controlled medical device was patented by Jerome Schentag and David D'Andrea, and named one of the top inventions of 1992 by Popular Science magazine. However, now the name has become generic and many companies are using the name smart pill. 

History of the Smart Pill

Jerome Schentag, professor of pharmaceutic science at the University of Buffalo, invented the computer-controlled "smart pill," which can be electronically tracked and instructed to deliver a drug to a predetermined location in the gastrointestinal tract. David D'Andrea was the co-inventor.

UB reporter Ellen Goldbaum describes the smart pill as a combination of microminiature electronics, mechanical and software engineering, and pharmaceutical sciences. "This capsule represents a significant advance in medical technology," said D'Andrea to UB reporters, "With the Smart Pill, we have been able to miniaturize a complex electronic system and put it into a capsule about one inch long. You're not just taking a pill, you're swallowing the instrument.

David D'Andrea is the president and chief executive officer of Gastrotarget, Inc. the manufacturers of the Smart Pill. Jerome Schentag is the company's vice president of research and development. D'Andrea is also the director of Millard Fillmore Hospital's Engineering and Devices Laboratory.