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Smart Pill Reports on Body from the Inside 55

An anonymous reader writes "In the 1966 movie "Fantastic Voyage," scientists enter the submarine Proteus, which is miniaturized so they can go inside the body of Jan Benes and save him. While such feats may be a ways off, a new smart pill "enters and exits the body through preexisting orifices" and reports on what it finds along the way, including temperature and pH. Sounds a bit creepy, but apparently it can lickety-split diagnose a disease that otherwise requires lots of uncomfortable probing."
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Smart Pill Reports on Body from the Inside

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  • Look out (Score:5, Funny)

    by neonprimetime (528653) on Monday June 26, 2006 @04:11PM (#15608633) Homepage
    The 26-by-13-millimeter smart pill, about the size of a multivitamin capsule, would go in and out natural orifices and report on everything in between

    And we were worried about the government wire-tapping our phones?
  • There was some artist/magician that swallowed a camera pod a while back. I forget the magician/artists name, but I remember they swallowed a pod shaped camera so as to demonstrate the digestive process. I wish I could remember the link. Anyway, he swallowed this camera thing in front of a sizable audience, and it got stuck in his digestive system. They had to abort the presentation. It was fairly recent, hopefully someone else can remember it.
  • by digitalgiblet (530309) on Monday June 26, 2006 @04:14PM (#15608664) Homepage Journal
    "enters and exits the body through preexisting orifices"

    Here's hoping this means you swallow it and it exits through the other end and NOT that it enters said other end and claws its way up to exit from your mouth.

  • Sales of tin foil cumberbunds go through the roof shortly after this release.

    Market experts baffled.
  • like those small crawling spheres that enter through your eyes, and exit through your waste water outlet. Where I have seen that, in 'impostor'? I don't remember now.
  • by phamlen (304054) <{phamlen} {at} {}> on Monday June 26, 2006 @04:24PM (#15608749) Homepage
    From the article:
    The disposable $500 pill--which enters and exits the body through preexisting orifices.

    Preexisting orifices? I guess we should be thankful they don't enter and exit through non-preexisting orifices - I can just imagine a doctor saying "There's this great new SmartPill but I'm gonna have to tear you a new asshole to use it."

  • I can see the commericial possibilities... Fast food joint create new menu item. Slips a smart pill into each order and monitors each customer's reaction to fine tune the new menu item. Smart pill is recycled after customer's takes a dump in the restroom and resulting data is sold to the highest bidder.
  • Does it have little tractor treads for going 'uphill'?
  • It is so amazing what doctors can do these days with $500, a tiny encapsulated computer, and a preexisting orifice.
    • Yeah, but if ole' "Doc" comes at me with a Beowolf Cluster of these labled as suppositories, I'm running, I don't care if they run Linux or not!

      Remember kids:
      In Soviet Russia, smart pill computes your orifices!

      (sorry- had to cover the usual to get it out of the way)
    • Just make sure if you have to swallow one of these you get a brand new one still in the wrapper. I don't care how clean you say you can get it; I so don't want to swallow anything that came out of someone else's butt.
    • It is so amazing what doctors can do these days with $500, a tiny encapsulated computer, and a preexisting orifice

      In a way, I'm glad they didn't do this in the early 80's. Commodore 64 computers cost $500 back then, and would have been a bear to swallow. Especially if they needed the disk drive also to record the images to.
  • Bender: "Yo old guy, why do we have to use those tiny micro droids? Can't you just shrink us?"
    Professor: "Oh my no, that would require extremely tiny atoms, have your priced those lately? I'm not made of money, leave me alone!"
  • Remember in Aeon Flux, that mediocre movie, how they would swallow pills that would release something that would tap into their perceptions directly and could be used for instant messaging, so to speak? I wonder if a rudimentary version of that is really possible. Not the whole tapping-into-the-brain-through-neurotransmitters thing, but far cruder... A tingling sensation means the coast is clear; A belly-ache means go into hiding; Death means the CIA has chosen to consider you a liability that must be el
  • by Kesch (943326) on Monday June 26, 2006 @05:10PM (#15609093)
    Good news! It's a suppository!

    (P.S. Some of us enjoyed the old style 'uncomfortable' probing)
    • Yeah, all dogs should come with this already installed (inserted?) along with a WiFi chip, then they wouldn't have to go around sniffing each other's rectums, the "smart pill" could do it for them and transmit to interested parties: hmmmm.... smells like dog's ass here!- maybe not a good idea! ;)
  • by dstone (191334) on Monday June 26, 2006 @05:12PM (#15609113) Homepage
    While inside the colon, "the transmitter's broadcast range is 300 feet".

    Receivers in promiscuous mode. Sniff away.
  • ...section opening at your favorite pr0n website...
  • Any procedure not involving making new orifaces is a wonderful thing.

    I'm going to be having a gastroscopy soon-ish, and the procedure appears to involve an IV. (It's probably just acid reflux. Probably. Hopefully.)

    (Yep, TFA gave me the creeps.)
  • From TFA:

    The 26-by-13-millimeter device, about the size of a multivitamin capsule, ...

    Good Lord! That's around 1" by 0.5"! This thing is huge! What kind of multivitamin capsules do these people take?

    I don't know how thick an endoscope is (1 cm in diameter doesn't seem too bad), but I have never seen a capsule close to that size. Having a thick endoscope pushed down my throat by another person doesn't seem as hard as having to convince myself to swallow a 1" capsule.

    On second thought, I believe drug mules

    • I, too, find the size of this smart pill hard to swallow...
    • endoscopes are commonly 12 or 13 mm in diameter (some larger, some smaller). Any you have to swallow it. They give you conscience sedation (you're groggy and the drugs have an amnesia effect, so you don't remember the pain or humiliation) and ask you to swallow. It can take a long time to get a patient to gag it down (just have to get it started, then it's shoved). A colonoscopy is less demeaning. It's in, it's out. I would like to avoid both, but having obsevered several of each, the colonoscopy is t
  • Status Report: Subject still stupid.

    Okay, that's the best I've got.
  • Pill Camera (Score:5, Informative)

    by Trailwalker (648636) on Monday June 26, 2006 @06:26PM (#15609474)
    I had this procedure done about six weeks ago. The pill sized camera takes hundreds of pix and transmits the images to a unit I wore on a belt. After the time was up, the nurse opened the receiving unit and showed me the flash memory cartridge used to store the images.

    Happily, I wasn't required to view the resulting pix, and the camera ended up in the local sewer system.

    Painless, and you can do what you want while waiting for the six hours or so pass.

    Here [] is some info about the procedure.
    • Re:Pill Camera (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Orphaze (243436)
      As disgusting as it may be, being a geek I could not resist the urge to examine the camera after it C'mon! Pill sized cameras? How cool is that? Little rubbing alcohol and it would be fine...
      • being a geek I could not resist the urge to examine the camera after it C'mon! Pill sized cameras? How cool is that?

        Exactly.... If I had to pay $500 for that camera, I'm keeping it. I'm sure the hardware has been hacked already. Anybody who ever changed a baby's diaper after they ate a lot of fruit isn't afraid to retrieve this camera.
      • The original version could be retrieved with a magnet.
  • A ways off? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by brian0918 (638904) <> on Monday June 26, 2006 @06:27PM (#15609479)
    If by "a ways off", you mean "absolutely impossible", then I agree. Or, do you believe there is a way to shrink atoms down to a fraction of their size?

  • I am not trying to belittle the invention and am sort of happy that such a thing was made (in fact I knew about it at least 5 years ago).

    However, as far as its applications for diagnostic or therapeutic purpose are concerned, they are very little. Most of the things in lumens in our body can be observed using putting an endoscopic tube (like a colonoscope or a flexible bronchoscope).

    The advantages of an endoscope are
    1) we can simultaneously remove a portion of the tissue for biopsy.
    2) We can manipulate the
  • Thank God. (Score:2, Informative)

    by DashItAll (910036)
    True stories of medical horror coming up. Avert your eyes! I have Chron's Disease, and one day I started bleeding profusely out of my anus. I was rushed to the hospital, and had a greased fiber-optic cable threaded up through my rectum. IT WAS THE WORST THING EVER. All I can remember is the nurse saying repeatedly "he's waking up again", and me going "nnnnnoooononggogoonnoo!" and the doctor going "Man! He's still going. Give him some more Demerol."
  • What the heck? I understand, that its true, mass-produced cost is far lower, but you could still feed a few draught-stricken African villages for months with the money.

    Why is it not reusable, or, at least, recyclable — change the wrapper, keep the electronics?

    If the consumers of the medical care were the ones paying for it, I bet, the number of people suddenly capable of overcoming their revulsions would've risen significantly...

% "Every morning, I get up and look through the 'Forbes' list of the richest people in America. If I'm not there, I go to work" -- Robert Orben