Is this how we'll take medication in the future?

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According to the New Scientist Inventions Blog (which scours US patent applications for interesting finds), Hewlett-Packard is attempting to help control prescription drug abuse by creating an inhaler/printer that can be placed on a patient's tongue to deliver medications. The print head is supposedly similar in design to that of an ink jet, and the drugs are also contained in replaceable cartridges, not unlike those that contain ink.

So, aside from the novel dispenser-aspect of it, what makes this invention so great? Well, the meds printer will come with several built-in safety measures, including a password (so only the patient can use it), an electronic timer (so that only so many doses can be dispensed within a certain time, like once every 7 hours), and a tamper-proof surrounding cartridge that will melt a substance into the drug to neutralize it if anyone tries to drill a hole into the cartridge or mess with the above timer. I'm sure someone will, at some point, figure out how to hack into the cartridges, but it does seem like a promising step towards controlling prescription drug abuse.

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July 21, 2006 - 7:14am
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