Japanese scientists and medical researchers have come up with a self propelled and remote controlled capsule endoscope which can swim through the digestive tract. The researchers have successfully captured images inside a person’s stomach and colon using the device.
The tadpole shaped capsule is the first self propelled endoscope to have moved from one part of the digestive tract to another and sent out images. The researchers have nicknamed the device the mermaid.
It is one centimetre in diameter and 4.5 cm long. The mermaid had magnetic driving gear that gives a user precise control over its direction and location. The control is relegated to a joystick which the doctors can use to manoeuvre movements.
The device sends out images which can be seen simultaneously on a monitor screen. The mermaid can be used by swallowing into the tummy or by being injected rectally for the colon. The research has been conducted by the Osaka Medical College on the southern island of Honshu in Japan.
The capsule was first tested on a dog’s stomach in 2009. Since then the mermaid had been made smaller and more efficient. Osaka Medical College gastroenterology researcher Kazuhide Higuchi said that by remotely controlling the capsule, we can precisely photograph the area which needs to be tested. It can examine the digestive canal from the oesophagus to the colon in a few hours. It reduces burdens on patients and can led to the discovery of cancer, he added.