New camera pill for small intestine diagnosis

Camera pills deliver images on the inside of the small intestine

Ingestible camera pills (endoscopy capsules) that deliver images from inside the body could revolutionize the diagnosis of diseases in the digestive tract in the future. Now the Fraunhofer Institute for Reliability and Microintegration (IZM) has developed a new camera pill that should enable "larger image detail, sharper images and more efficient image analysis". The endoscopy capsule is to be used for a detailed examination of the small intestine.

The human small intestine was first examined using capsule endoscopy in 2001, reports the IZM. The patient swallowed a pill that contained a micro camera and took thousands of photos on its way through the small intestine, which allowed an optical examination. This method of imaging the small intestine using capsule endoscopy has been established to date, with various capsule technologies available on the market, according to the IZM.

Previous camera pills provide many redundant images

It was only with the swallowable camera pills that an optical examination of the small intestine with its intricate six meters in length was possible. So far, however, the cameras have had the disadvantage that the images are triggered time-triggered, regardless of whether the capsule endoscope has moved or not, explain the IZM researchers. This creates redundant data that must be manually filtered. However, this problem can be eliminated and the number of redundant data can be reduced to a minimum by means of recordings which are triggered by movement. The researchers have now developed such a camera pill.

Candy-sized tablet with high-tech inside

"In the Endotrace research project, a new capsule technology was developed that no longer takes redundant images," said the IZM. The researchers presented a candy-sized tablet with high-tech inside. A total of five cameras, a tracer, a computer memory, batteries and an LED light were installed in the pill.

Triggering the camera when moving

The special thing about the new camera pill is that it triggers when it moves. The capsule takes a photo after a movement of two to three millimeters. This reduces the number of pictures taken in total by half. This ultimately enables faster evaluation and diagnosis. Although the new endoscopy capsule is not yet available because there is still a long way to go before it is approved, it is hoped that it will help diagnose diseases such as gastrointestinal bleeding more quickly in the future. (fp)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.

Dipl. Geogr. Fabian Peters


  • Fraunhofer IZM: Faster small intestine diagnosis thanks to camera pill (available on August 23, 2019), IZM

Video: Preparing for a Capsule Endoscopy - from the American Gastroenterological Association (November 2021).