New Ingestible Sensor Helps Researchers Better Glimpse the Gut

The sensor could offer a more reliable and less invasive way to measure gases in the gut.

While, wearables like the new EKG-capable Apple Watch band, are stepping in to help clinicians and researchers better understand the body's biometrics, understanding the inner workings of the body still require more invasive methods. A new ingestible sensor could change that, however.

Researchers at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia, have developed a new ingestible sensor designed to better understand the gases in the gut.

"In contrast to wearable sensors, which are mostly limited to contact with the skin, ingestible sensors can be immersed in the gut, an environment in which the concentrations of chemicals exchanged by our body are high," researchers write in the report published in Nature Electronics.

Previous methods of measuring and assessing gases of the gut are highly invasive and, the report argues, thus far unreliable. The sensor could offer a much less invasive method, using a combination of thermal conductivity and semiconducting sensors to measure the gas profiles of the stomach.

"Regional fermentation patterns could be defined via hydrogen gas profiles," the report authors say. "Our gas capsule offers an accurate and safe tool for monitoring the effects of diet of individuals, and has the potential to be used as a diagnostic tool for the gut."

Jan 11 2018