“If you’re a big fan of robots, would you ever consider having one inside your stomach?”
This is the question you have to ask yourself before committing to Ankon Medical Technologies’ Gastric Endoscope Capsule. You may think this tiny thing is just like any edible capsule, but in reality, it’s actually a magnetically controlled robot that lets doctors get a good look at your digestive system and… it’s pretty, dang cool:
In order to get the jump on stomach ailments like ulcers, inflammation, or even cancer, doctors conduct an endoscopy. This usually involves inserting a long tube inside your mouth and down your digestive tract which, as you can imagine or have even experienced, isn’t much fun.
The Gastric Endoscope Capsule is far less painful. In fact, the claim is that it is completely non-invasive. How does the robot capsule work? After fasting (just like before any sort of endoscopy), the patient takes a mixture of liquids before putting on a special data recording vest and swallowing the capsule.
The fun part comes as soon as the capsule reaches the stomach. With the patient on their side, the doctor is able to perform a thorough endoscopy from a remote control station. With the capsule in position, it can be moved using a set of joysticks throughout the stomach. These joysticks allow the capsule to make millimeter-length movements to ease the patient’s discomfort of having a small, maneuverable robot capsule inside their body.
Once the endoscopy is finished, the capsule is directed to the small intestine where the capsule proceeds through the rest of the digestive tract, and well… you know where that ultimately ends. This animation shows the process:
Considering the alternative is a long tube crammed down your throat, I would much rather ingest a tiny robot, thank you very much. Not only is it less intrusive but having a tiny robot inside your stomach is all kinda cool. Hopefully, the medical industry explores more ways of incorporating robotics into their procedures including, perhaps, fitting these capsule bots with UV light for internal anti-microbial treatment. Now, wouldn’t that be something.