Electronic circuits to eat

Electronic circuits to eat

Electronic circuits to eat

The recent invention of a group of Italian scientists will allow the development of edible microcircuits. They will enable smart drugs to be made, points to ingestible diagnostic devices and food to be traced.

A team of Italian researchers has developed an innovative technology that will allow you to equip pills and tablets, but also vegetables and steaks, with edible electronic circuits and make them so smart.

The idea was developed in the CNST laboratories, the Center of Nano Science and Technology of the Italian Institute of Technology in Milan, by a team led by Mario Caironi and Guglielmo Lanzani.


«The ingestible electronics are a line of research that aims to create electronic devices and circuits entirely in organic materials, containing carbon, not harmful to humans, biodegradable and possibly assimilable by the human body», explains Guglielmo Lanzani.

The eatable circuits are constructed with silver contacts, a material already used for confectionery decorations, mounted on an insulating layer of edible cellulose. All the materials were tested by the researchers and were completely non-toxic and biocompatible.



A technology similar to that of children’s tattoos allows the transfer of these special circuits on pills, drugs or food to be swallowed. But what can a smart tablet or zucchini serve? For example, to communicate with the outside, to the doctors or to the relatives of the patient, that a medicine has been taken, when, in what quantity and in what clinical conditions (Ph, blood sugar, temperature, etc.).

The electronics to eat will also allow the development of new non-invasive methods for the diagnosis of numerous diseases of the digestive system: the intelligent pill will gather information on the assimilation of foods, on the motility of the intestine, on the onset of bacterial infections.


The discovery of Italian researchers could also have interesting impacts in the food sector. Edible circuits could for example be printed on fruits and vegetables, meat, eggs, fish, dairy products to allow constant quality control throughout the distribution chain.

«At the moment the area of applications that can be pursued by edible electronics is entirely to be explored» says Giorgio Bonacchini, the first author of the publication. “In the future, the refrigerators in our homes could be equipped with a technology able to dialogue with edible printed circuits on the food contained within them, noting and communicating the state of conservation and upcoming deadlines of each of them”.


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