Self-propelled capsule endoscope captures images inside a human stomach and colon in Japan
A research team in western Japan has successfully captured images inside a human stomach and colon using a self-propelled, remote-controlled capsule endoscope in Takatsuki, Osaka Prefecture, on June 21, 2011. About 1 cm in diameter and 4.5 cm long, the device has a driving gear reminiscent of a tail fin that allows for precise control of its direction and location, which aids correct diagnosis of cancer. Designed to be swallowed for examination of the stomach and inserted rectally for the colon, it may also reduce burdens on patients, Ryukoku University professor emeritus Naotake Otsuka said.
The capsule can move dozens of centimeters per second, and the battery lasts for eight to 10 hours. The capsule has the potential for use throughout the digestive canal, including the small intestine, which has so far been difficult to shoot. Professor Otsuka has tried out the new device himself and felt no pain at all.