Japan develops 'swimming' capsule endoscope

Jun 21, 2011

Japanese researchers said Tuesday they had developed a self-propelled remote controlled capsule endoscope that can "swim" through the digestive tract.

They have succeeded in capturing images inside a person's stomach and colon using the tadpole-shaped capsule as a first step toward its , the scientists said.

It is the first time a self-propelled endoscope has successfully moved from one part of the to another and shot images inside the colon, the team said.

The device, nicknamed the "Mermaid", is about one centimetre (0.4 inches) in diameter and 4.5 (1.8 inches) long and has magnetic driving gear that allows for precise control of its direction and location.

Doctors use a joystick to control the capsule's movements, watching them on a monitor screen. It can be swallowed for examination of the stomach or inserted rectally for the colon.

The research was announced at an international conference on in Chicago, Illinois, in May, according to the team, which included scientists from Ryukoku University and Osaka Medical College.

Capsule have been developed since the 1980s and came to be widely used in the 2000s. But they were unable to propel themselves, relying instead on muscle contractions to move them along.

The self-propelled capsule was first tested inside a dog's stomach in 2009 and it has been since modified and made smaller, the team said.

The Mermaid was demonstrated before Japanese media at Osaka Medical College in Osaka's suburbs on Tuesday.

"By remotely controlling the capsule, we can precisely photograph the area which needs to be tested," Osaka Medical College professor Kazuhide Higuchi said.

"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 said.

Explore further: Radiologist recommendations for chest CT have high clinical yield

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Spider pill to seek out diseases

Oct 16, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- A remotely controlled 'spider pill' with eight moving legs and a miniature camera may become the next tool of choice in diagnosing cancers of the stomach and colon.

Recommended for you

Obese British man in court fight for surgery

Jul 11, 2011

A British man weighing 22 stone (139 kilograms, 306 pounds) launched a court appeal Monday against a decision to refuse him state-funded obesity surgery because he is not fat enough.

2008 crisis spurred rise in suicides in Europe

Jul 08, 2011

The financial crisis that began to hit Europe in mid-2008 reversed a steady, years-long fall in suicides among people of working age, according to a letter published on Friday by The Lancet.

New food labels dished up to keep Europe healthy

Jul 06, 2011

A groundbreaking deal on compulsory new food labels Wednesday is set to give Europeans clear information on the nutritional and energy content of products, as well as country of origin.

Overweight men have poorer sperm count

Jul 04, 2011

Overweight or obese men, like their female counterparts, have a lower chance of becoming a parent, according to a comparison of sperm quality presented at a European fertility meeting Monday.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.