Images of the inside of the intestine can be obtained even today: The patient swallows a camera that is no larger than a candy. It makes its way through the intestine and transmits images of the intestinal villi to an external receiver which the patient carries on a belt.
This device stores the data so that the physician can later analyze them and identify any hemorrhages or cysts. However, the camera is not very suitable for examinations of the esophagus and the stomach. The reason is that camera only takes about three or four seconds to make its way through the esophagus – producing two to four images per second – and once it reaches the stomach, its roughly five-gram weight causes it to drop very quickly to the lower wall of the stomach.
In other words, it is too fast to deliver usable images. For examinations of the esophagus and the stomach, therefore, patients still have to swallow a rather thick endoscope.
In collaboration with engineers from the manufacturer Given Imaging, the Israelite Hospital in Hamburg and the Royal Imperial College in London, researchers from the Fraunhofer Institute for Biomedical Engineering in Sankt Ingbert have developed the first-ever control system for the camera pill. “In future, doctors will be able to stop the camera in the esophagus, move it up and down and turn it, and thus adjust the angle of the camera as required,” says IBMT team leader Dr. Frank Volke.
“This allows them to make a precise examination of the junction between the esophagus and the stomach, for if the cardiac sphincter is not functioning properly, gastric acid comes up the esophagus and causes heartburn. In the long term, this may even cause cancer of the esophagus. Now, with the camera, we can even scan the stomach walls.” But how do the researchers manage to steer the disposable camera inside the body? “We have developed a magnetic device roughly the size of a bar of chocolate. The doctor can hold it in his hand during the examination and move it up and down the patient’s body. The camera inside follows this motion precisely,” says Volke.
The steerable camera pill is constructed in much the same way as its predecessor: It consists of a camera, a transmitter that sends the images to the receiver, a battery and several cold-light diodes which briefly flare up like a flashlight every time a picture is taken. One prototype of the camera pill has already passed its first practical test in the human body. The researchers demonstrated in a self-experiment that the camera can be kept in the esophagus for about ten minutes, even if the patient is sitting upright.
Press Office | alfa
Novel breast tomosynthesis technique reduces screening recall rate
21.02.2017 | Radiological Society of North America
Biocompatible 3-D tracking system has potential to improve robot-assisted surgery
17.02.2017 | Children's National Health System
In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport
Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...
The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.
The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...
Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...
Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".
Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...
13.02.2017 | Event News
10.02.2017 | Event News
09.02.2017 | Event News
22.02.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
22.02.2017 | Life Sciences
21.02.2017 | Earth Sciences