Food patch delivers nutrients by the skin
Under development in the US for use by soldiers in the field, the Transdermal Nutrient Delivery System (TDNDS) is a nutrition patch that will transmit vitamins and other micronutrients, enhancing physical and mental performance. Based on the same technology as the nicotine patch, the system will also employ metabolic sensors linked to a microprocessor to administer the correct level of micronutrients. Utilising the latest advances in nutritional sciences, the TDNDS will deliver these nutraceuticals either through skin pores or directly into blood capillaries. The planned micro-electrical system could also make a soldier aware of remaining nutrient reserves by sending a signal to the brain.
The project is designed to cater for future combat situations in which substantial amounts of time will be spent encapsulated in protective garments or in vehicles with limited access to normal meals. TDNDS will make possible the replenishment of key nutrients using a method that's controllable and minimally invasive, reducing combat-related stress, such as muscle fatigue and the physical problems that accompany prolonged exposure to cold weather and high altitudes.Potential civilian applications in the future include a range of hazardous work environments where confined conditions make regular access to food difficult - mining, firefighting and astronauts involved in space walks among others.