Capsules that could transmit video of the digestive tract after being swallowed is old news now. A research team from Australia’s RMIT and Monash Universities has come up with a capsule that is capable of measuring the amount of intestinal gases and relay this data to a smartphone or other device.
Intestinal gases and their presence is associated with multiple gastrointestinal disorders and can also give a precise indication when it comes to the overall health of a patient. Conventionally these gases are measured by methods, such as breath analysis. Lead scientist and Professor Kourosh Kalantar-zadeh of RMIT says that those methods are not reliable. To support his statement, he further adds that these methods do not allow us to ascertain where the gases are present in the digestive tract.
The capsule designed by the research team consists of a gas sensor, battery, wireless high-frequency transmitter and a microprocessor. The capsule, once swallowed, carries on to measure the concentrations of selected gases while it travels through the digestive tract and is passed out naturally. The readings that it measures along the way are sent to smartphone or another device.
Human trials have to take place, however, the tests carried out on animals have been proven to be a success. Professor Kourosh Kalantar-zadeh said, “Being able to accurately measure intestinal gases could accelerate our knowledge about how specific gut microorganisms contribute to gastrointestinal disorders and food intake efficiency, enabling the development of new diagnostic techniques and treatments. But these high-tech capsules could also help people work out precisely how particular foods affect their guts.”