Microsoft talks up using printers to make drugs

Microsoft's Craig Mundie talked of the possibility of using printers to make drugs on Friday.

In the not-too-distant future, people could use computer printers to make simple medicines as part of a do-it-yourself model of health care, a top Microsoft executive said Friday.

Printers are already liquid delivery systems, but instead of ink, people might someday put the ingredients of different medications into printer cartridges, said Craig Mundie, chief research and strategy officer at Microsoft, in a speech in Jakarta, Indonesia on Friday.

The drugstore-in-a-box, as he called it, would be part of several devices that could increasingly use information technology for health diagnosis and treatment.

In an example, he envisioned a mobile phone that also contained breath analysis technology like that used to detect alcohol in the breath of drunk drivers today. But instead of just alcohol, the technology would be tweaked to determine a lot about a person's health. The handset could analyze a person's breath for diseases, chemical imbalances and other troubles, and then a clinic could provide a diagnosis.

The mobile phone user might then go to a clinic so they could print out the medication. The computer would assess the person's weight, sex and other factors to determine the right combination of ingredients to treat the ailment, then print out a sheet of "tablets." The person would then peel them off like mailing labels and let them dissolve in their mouth, Mundie said.

Such technology is not available today, and Microsoft said it's just an idea.

But Mundie said the technology sector is poised to come up with novel ways to improve healthcare. He pointed to examples in recent history where people once had to go to the doctor but can now diagnose themselves at home, such as using home pregnancy tests.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Dan Nystedt

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?