When you think of groundbreaking new technology, we’re willing to bet that one of the last things you’d expect is a pill that tracks your toots. Believe it or not tracking your farts is now a thing. Researchers at the RMIT University and Peter Gibson of Monash University in Australia have finally reported on their invention in Nature Electronics.
The device itself looks like any normal pill you’d get from the pharmacy, only this capsule contains sensors for temperature, CO2, H2 and O2 in addition to a tiny oxide battery and a transmission system no bigger than a button. The outer shell contains a gas-permeable membrane that allows for immediate diffusion of gut gases according to the study in Nature Electronics.
The trial run of testing started out with 6 test patients. Swallowing the pills allowed researchers to monitor the pills’ intestinal voyage from mouth to anus! CO2 and H2 managed to peak during the early stages of the operation in the colon, and O2 levels dropped considerably during its trip through the digestive system. The device itself can transmit the data of your bowel gases in real time onto virtually any portable or mobile device.
Until now, the process of measuring the digestive system in such a way has proven difficult in the scientific community. According to the researchers involved, this new device could help avoid the invasive camera tubing normally involved in inspecting the gut in any patients dealing with digestive problems. The device could be groundbreaking in measuring real-time data when it comes to the gas inside your body and how you react to dietary changes.
In their previous study, researchers improved upon their pill prototype that they had tested in pigs. The capsule itself is around 26 mm in length and 9.8 mm in diameter. Almost like one of those giant vitamin pills you get from the supermarket.
For the human trials, several patients were given different diets to study the gut. One man was made to take the pill twice. The first time was when he was put on a high fiber diet. Then he was given a low fiber diet in the next study. For the high fiber test, the patient was not happy because he experienced a lot of abdominal pain, which for the test showed high levels of O2 gas in his digestive system, which may disturb the body’s anaerobes. In the low-fiber test, the patient passed the pill with no problems, but it took a long time to pass through the colon (three days in fact.)
Given the immense breakthrough in this technology, it’s very likely that the next time you head to the doctor to have your digestive system examined, that you’ll be required to swallow a pill very much like this one.
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