London: Scientists have developed a new free-moving capsule camera which they say can swim down the human digestive tract and could one day make endoscopy a much
The tiny device with fins, nicknamed The Mermaid, is the world`s first capsule camera small enough to swim through the human digestive tract.
Japanese scientists who developed it said the device can be gulped down and controlled remotely, the Daily Mail reported.
Researcher Kazuhide Higuchi, of Osaka Medical College, said: "This shape had to be something that people can swallow, and thus move around freely inside the body and take a picture."
Capsule cameras already exist but most are propelled through the stomach and intestine by peristalsis, the movement of muscles in the digestive tract, limiting their usefulness.
But the device has been fitted with magnetic field-powered fins which help it swim around on remote control as it sends pictures back to the examining doctors.
The capsule also works the same way as suppositories for examinations of the large intestine, researchers said. It leaves the body the same way.
Dr Higuchi said: "Even if you leave it inside the body after it finishes taking pictures of your stomach, it will probably just come out as stool.
The camera is still in the prototype phase and researchers said it will take a few more years before it can be put to practical use.