(Photo credit: Nature.com)
While most people just eat whatever they want, and then let nature takes its course, scientists and doctors want to learn more about our digestive system, and how it all works. A research team at Australia’s RMIT University has developed a swallowable pill, which is no bigger than a regular-sized vitamin pill, that can track the hydrogen, oxygen, and carbon dioxide gases in the human body in real time.
The pill itself is made of gas-permeable membrane, gas, sensors, a microcontroller, batteries, antennas, and a wireless transmitter. It can stay in the body safely for days, and has already been tested on humans. Speaking of which, the human testing phase involved seven people on low and high-fiber diets, with the pill being able to accurately detect the onset of food fermentation and digestion. The team of scientists used ultrasound to compare the location of the pill inside the body, along with the changes in the gases.
There has been talks with the team behind the tech to commercialize the capsule, with co-inventor Kyle Berean stating, “Our ingestible sensors offer a potential diagnostic tool for many disorders of the gut from food nutrient malabsorption to colon cancer. It is good news that a less invasive procedure will now be an option for so many people in the future”
Will this see the light of day or just be a fart in the wind when it comes to medical advancements? Given how it can give doctors and scientists a new way of looking into our health (this way instead of colonoscopies), let’s hope this tech becomes available commercially soon.