Remote Control PillCam On The Way

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The PillCam is a device made by Given Imaging that allows doctors to get a precise view of the inside of our bodies.

It will be used to perform a close-up internal examination of the junction between the esophagus and stomach in patients suffering from heartburn but could be used to perform many other examinations.

The device will be steered and speed-controlled by a magnetic device currently under development through a collaboration with German institutions.

IBMT team leader Dr. Frank Volke said, “We have developed a magnetic device roughly the size of a bar of chocolate. The doctor can hold it in his hand during the examination and move it up and down the patient’s body. The camera inside follows this motion precisely.”

The trick is to slow down the pills passage through the body. Small candy-sized cameras are already in use to gain an internal view of a patients body, but pass through very quickly allowing limited reconnaissance.

A small camera will pass through the esophagus in just three to four seconds, producing at best, two to four images a second. Currently for proper examination of the esophagus, patients must swallow a thick, uncomfortable endoscope.

The steerable camera pill consists of a camera, a transmitter, a battery and several cold-light diodes. The diodes fire up like a camera flash each time a photo is taken.

In a self-experiment, researchers have demonstrated that the PillCam can be kept inside the esophagus for about ten minutes using the magnetic device, even when sitting upright.

Research Paper

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