Smart Pills Designed for High Accuracy Diagnosis of Gut Disorders

April 28, 2023

New “GPS smart pills” have been developed by researchers at Caltech in collaboration with researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology -  a project supported in part by the U.S. National Science Foundation

The study published in Nature Electronics suggests that the trackabe smart pills can collect gastrointestinal health data, make relevant measures, record images, show real time movement or even deliver drugs as they circulate through the GI tract. 

“The technology has been dubbed iMAG, short for Ingestible Microdevices for Anatomic-mapping of Gastrointestinal-tract. It is not the first implementation of a trackable smart pill, but its creators say it is the most accurate and easiest to follow.

Electrical engineer Azita Emami says previous attempts at real-time movement tracking of smart pills relied on what is known as radio frequency triangulation; the pill was essentially a radio beacon. Although RF triangulation works, it cannot pinpoint the location of a smart pill with a resolution better than a few centimeters, which is not accurate enough to pinpoint where a pill is sitting in the twists and turns of the intestines. The iMAG pill, however, has the potential to be located with submillimeter accuracy, Emami says.”