Team Members: Saransh Sharma, Khalil B. Ramadi, Nikhil H. Poole, Shriya S. Srinivasan, Keiko Ishida, Johannes Kuosmanen, Josh Jenkins, Fatemeh Aghlmand, Margaret B. Swift, Mikhail G. Shapiro, Giovanni Traverso, Azita Emami
The advancement in medical technology has led to the development of innovative diagnostic and treatment methods for gastrointestinal (GI) disorders. A key area of focus in this field is the localization and tracking of ingestible smart pills, which are invaluable tools in the diagnosis and management of various GI conditions. In our latest project, we have made significant strides in this area by developing a sophisticated system for the wireless 3D tracking of smart pills within the GI tract. This system is designed to operate in real-time and offers millimeter-scale resolution, marking a significant improvement in tracking capabilities.
The core of our system lies in the generation of 3D magnetic field gradients within the GI field of view. This is accomplished using high-efficiency planar electromagnetic coils, which are ingeniously designed to encode each point in space with a unique magnetic field magnitude. This encoding ensures that every spatial location within the GI tract can be precisely identified based on its distinct magnetic field characteristics.
The smart pills, central to this system, are miniaturized marvels of engineering. They are equipped with low-power, wireless technology that enables them to measure the magnetic field magnitude in their immediate vicinity accurately. As these smart pills navigate through the complex environment of the GI tract, they continuously transmit data regarding the field magnitude they encounter. This transmission allows for the decoding of their exact location within the GI tract, providing real-time tracking as they progress through the digestive system.
The potential applications of this system are vast and impactful. It could play a crucial role in monitoring conditions such as constipation and incontinence, offering a quantitative assessment of GI transit time. Furthermore, the precision of this tracking system opens up new possibilities for targeted therapeutic interventions, allowing for more effective and minimally invasive procedures. The ability to accurately track the movement and location of smart pills within the GI tract not only enhances diagnostic capabilities but also allows for a more personalized approach to treatment.
Our project represents a significant breakthrough in the field of medical technology, particularly in the diagnosis and treatment of GI disorders. The development of a system for the real-time, 3D tracking of ingestible smart pills with millimeter-scale resolution has the potential to revolutionize the way GI disorders are diagnosed and managed. By providing precise and real-time data, this system offers new insights into GI function and pathology, paving the way for more effective, targeted, and minimally invasive treatment options.
Related Publications and News
- Sharma, S., Ramadi, K.B., Poole, N.H. et al. “Location-aware ingestible microdevices for wireless monitoring of gastrointestinal dynamics“, Nat Electron 6, 242–256 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41928-023-00916-0
- iMAG: Location-aware smart-pill for wireless GI-tract monitoring | Research Communities by Springer Nature
- Smart Pills to Help Diagnose Gut Disorders – www.caltech.edu
- Ingestible sensor could help doctors pinpoint GI difficulties | MIT News | Massachusetts Institute of Technology
- What’s your gut telling you? | NYU Tandon School of Engineering