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
A Challenging European Research Project to Develop New Tiny Microscopes
28.03.2017 | Technische Universität Braunschweig
3-D visualization of the pancreas -- new tool in diabetes research
15.03.2017 | Umea University
The Institute of Semiconductor Technology and the Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, both members of the Laboratory for Emerging Nanometrology (LENA), at Technische Universität Braunschweig are partners in a new European research project entitled ChipScope, which aims to develop a completely new and extremely small optical microscope capable of observing the interior of living cells in real time. A consortium of 7 partners from 5 countries will tackle this issue with very ambitious objectives during a four-year research program.
To demonstrate the usefulness of this new scientific tool, at the end of the project the developed chip-sized microscope will be used to observe in real-time...
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
28.03.2017 | Life Sciences
28.03.2017 | Information Technology
28.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy