Swimming Capsule Speeds Through Intestines in Record Time

All right, who's up for more efficient colon probing technology? Researchers from Ryukoku University and Osaka Medical College in Japan the world’s first self-propelled endoscopy device.

The use of these self-contained endoscopy pills--which contain a micro camera and memory--is fairly common already. But the “Mermaid” is the first device that can go through a digestive track on its own power rather than riding on natural muscle contractions.

The Mermaid can “swim” thanks to a tail fin shaped magnetic driving gear that allows it to move like a tadpole. Doctors can pilot the endoscopic tool with a joystick while watching its progress on a monitor as it captures two images per second. So far the lap record for the entire intestinal track is a few hours where as a traditional pill would take 10 hours.

Thankfully the tail does not add much girth to the pill--it’s still the same 1-centimeter diameter--but the tail does double the usual length to 4.5-centimeters. The pill can still be taken orally or inserted through the other end, just like the old one.

[medGadget via Yahoo News]

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