These New Edible Sensors Could Revolutionize MedTech

January 16, 2018 - 2 minutes read

Can you imagine eating a capsule embedded with sensors so it can monitor your gut? Yeah, that sounds a little weird. But hear us out; here’s how it works.

RMIT University in Australia led several successful trials of these capsules. These little pills are expected to revolutionize how doctors monitor, treat, and diagnose gastrointestinal diseases, both acute and chronic. This area of the body is prone to instability; in fact, one in five people across the world will have gastrointestinal problems in their lifetime.

New Revelations

The vitamin-sized capsule detects and measures gut gas in real time, sending the data to your mobile phone. The trials are extremely promising, possibly uncovering a whole new immune system.

“We found that the stomach releases oxidizing chemicals to break down and beat foreign compounds that are staying in the stomach for longer than usual,” says study lead, capsule co-inventor, and professor Kourosh Kalantar-zadeh. “This could represent a gastric protection system against foreign bodies. Such an immune mechanism has never been reported before.”

This revelation, possible through an intense collaboration between doctors, researchers, mobile app developers, and patients, could profoundly change medicine in many key areas. Besides the immune system evidence, researchers also found that the colon possibly contains oxygen, which goes against the textbook fact that the colon is an oxygen-less part of our bodies.

Disrupting Preventative Medicine

With this technology, we have the ability to monitor what types of food are best for our metabolism, emotions, and energy without needing to use the traditional intrusive means to deduce this information. This device and its mobile app also prevent unnecessary invasive surgeries.

Having passed human trials, the researchers plan to commercialize the technology. They’ve partnered with Australian MedTech development company Planet Innovation to research market penetration and viability.

A similar device was developed in Boston between MIT and Brigham and Women’s Hospital. This one focuses on measuring contractions instead of gas. Edible sensors seem to be on the rise in MedTech. Don’t be surprised to see this technology in your local clinic within a few years.

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