Pillbot is a 2023 Edison Award Gamechanger: Moore About Business
I’d like to spend a little more time today talking about the Edison Awards, a two-day event in April that honors innovators from around the globe. This year, Fort Myers welcomed innovators from close to 25 countries and 30 states.
I had the honor of talking with the co-founder and CEO of Endiatx, Torrey Smith. Smith’s innovation, Pillbot, was named a Gamechanger by Edison Awards judges this year because of its potential global impact.
“Pillbot is basically our attempt to show the world that you can actually do the medicine inside the human body using a tiny robot as a platform," explained Smith. "I’ll be honest with you, that a little swimming drone in the stomach is not our ultimate goal. We want to go further, we want to do brain surgery using rice grain-sized versions of this, possibly nuclear-powered. But you have to have some tangible place to begin, and we think a little friendly moving eyeball in the stomach is the way to go.”
Smith's inspiration for Pillbot came from a movie when he was a kid.
"Like many other kids, I was exposed to amazing science fiction. And for me, the specific movie that really blew my mind, was a movie called "Innerspace" in the 1980’s, where we have Martin Short and Dennis Quaid. Dennis Quaid gets shrunk down into this submarine and is injected into Martin Short and I’m a kid and I’m just taking this at face value. I just kind of assumed that that kind of technology would be real by the time I was an adult.”
His inspiration continued into adulthood.
“And when you become an adult, you begin having adult problems, you start having friends who get sick, you start seeing your loved ones going to the hospital," Smith said. "And you ask yourself, where is all that science fiction, right? And when you realize that the standard of care is sometimes rooted in technology from a few decades behind us, you ask yourself, well maybe we can do something about it?”
Smith’s hope is to bring his product to market in the next two to three years with a global impact.
“So if we can make a screening tool that can go all around the world and put the best doctors into the living rooms of patients or refugee camps or military vessels or forward operating areas, we’re basically saying that we’re going to put the hospital into pill form and make that cheap and accessible.”
I’m still amazed that I actually held this gamechanger, this Pillbot, in my hand.
Karen Moore is a contributing partner for WGCU and the publisher of SWFL Business Today.