New Invention May Help Doctors
Albert Swiston’s tiny electronic pill is a new way to monitor vital signs by measuring heart and breathing rates from within the digestive gastrointestinal tract.
Swiston’s little pill could make it much easier to assess trauma patients, perform a long-term evaluation of patients with chronic illness, monitor soldiers in battle, or even help athletes improve their performance.
The tiny package of sensors is built by a group from MIT and was specially designed to travel into the digestive tract to read vital signs. The team tested all the pieces of the smart pill and then sent it on a unique journey through the guts of six live Yorkshire pigs. The interworkings of a pig’s body is similar to a human’s body, so they decided to use them as their guinea pigs – pun intended, and the test was successful!
All-Inclusive Vitals Monitoring!
There are currently fewer complex devices that can monitor body temperature, keep track of prescription use, and take photographs of the inner body. However, all of these are performed separately, one at a time. With this new technology, doctors may be able to monitor multiple vital signs simultaneously.
The tiny pill comprises of a microphone, a thermometer and a battery that has a lifespan long enough to pass from the mouth to rectum of any large mammal it travels through.
As the small device passes through the digestive system, one component gathers temperature, while a miniature microphone acts as a stethoscope to transmit a recording of the heart and lungs to a wireless device that translates into the person’s heart rate and respiratory rate.
This tiny device is going to be helpful for trauma patients since it will allow the doctors to do vital sign monitoring without touching the skin. For example, you cannot put an electrocardiogram on a burn patient, especially if they don’t have any skin to apply it to; however, swallowing a pill-size device should not be a problem.
Who is Albert Swiston?
Swiston is a biomaterials scientist and works at the federally funded Lincoln Laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Swiston and his colleagues are focusing on developing technologies that will help monitor soldiers in extreme climates like Afghanistan and Iraq.
Reader – What do you think about this new technology? Would you swallow one?
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(H/T) A Tiny Pill Monitors Vital Signs From Deep Inside The Body – and Image Reference