Self-inflating weight loss capsule is activated with a magnet

Researchers have developed a new weight loss capsule that self-inflates in the patient's stomach, helping them feel full without the need for an invasive inflation process. The capsule works, in part, with an external magnet that is passed over the patient's stomach, triggering the capsule to self-inflate. The same magnet is used to trigger the deflation process, after which point the capsule is safely passed.

The capsule, which has been named EndoPil and currently exists in prototype form, was created by researchers with NTU Singapore and the National University Health System. Though using a balloon as a weight loss treatment option isn't new, the technology behind EndoPil is.

Existing gastric balloon options require a somewhat invasive, uncomfortable procedure — the deflated balloon is inserted down through the patient's esophagus and into their stomach, where it is then inflated to provide the sensation of fullness. The amount of food the patient can eat is reduced, leading to weight loss.

In comparison, EndoPil is a small capsule that the patient swallows with water. Once in the patient's stomach, their doctor can then activate the inflation mechanism using a handheld magnet. Harmless acid and salt stored within the capsule produces carbon dioxide, causing the balloon to inflate in the patient's stomach.

EndoPil underwent a preclinical trial involving a pig, which lost a little more than 3lbs over one week. Following that successful test, the capsule was then successfully tested on a healthy volunteer in Singapore. Additional work on improving the deflation process and shrinking the capsule's size is currently in the pipeline.