Doctors in Germany Create Swallowable, Remote-Controlled Stomach Submarine

Jan 19, 2011
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Right now, doctors only have a couple of choices when it comes to looking into the human body. Trying to discover a person's ailment in their intestines is tough, as it usually means that an endoscopy has to happen. Inputting a camera, connected to a long cable, down someone's throat isn't always what a patient is looking forward to, and the alternative isn't any better. And while capsules with cameras in them exist today, it's hard for doctors to see what's happening inside, as the movement is controlled by the person's innards. But, doctor's from Germany are looking to change that with a new remote-controlled capsule that can be swallowed.

Doktor Jutta Kella of the Hamburg uni internal-medicine department, along with her colleagues, are the brains behind the new swallowable capsule. The capsule is controlled on the inside of a person's body courtesy of a powerful external, hand-held magnet. This makes it possible for doctor's to pinpoint where, exactly, they want the capsule to go, and record images of the internals with the integrated video camera.

The doctor's created the new device by altering the body of a current probe. They installed magnetic discs to the outside of the capsule. The doctors in Germany were able to test out the new capsule in 10 healthy individuals, who had to swallow sherbet powder, along with the magnetized probes. The powder would help the patient's stomachs loosen up, letting doctors see inside much easier.

The results showed that the little capsule was able to send pictures at 4 frames per second, which provides the doctors a real-time look inside someone's body. The initial tests within the 10 individuals was meant to test the safety of the device, and to find out if it worked better, or just as well, than the current options doctors have for looking into the human body.

[via The Register]


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