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Hospital Healthcare Europe

Remote controlled pill developed


23 June, 2008  

A new pill containing a miniature camera has be developed that can be steered and stopped inside the body.

Standard internal cameras send back images as they pass through the body. As the pills make their way through the intestine they transmit images of the intestinal villi to an external receiver which the patient carries on a belt.

This device stores the data so that the physician can later analyse it and identify any haemorrhages or cysts.

Previously, scientists have had difficulties photographing the passage of camera pills through the oesophagus and stomach due to the speed with which it passes.

A collaboration of engineers including members of the Royal Imperial College in London have now developed the first-ever control system for the pill camera.

Team leader Dr Frank Volke said they have developed a magnetic device roughly the size of a bar of chocolate which doctors can hold in their hands during the examination and move up and down the patient’s body – with the camera inside following the motion precisely.

“In future, doctors will be able to stop the camera in the oesophagus, move it up and down and turn it, and thus adjust the angle of the camera as required,” he said.

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Royal Imperial College