Sensors that you can swallow are not a new development in the field of medicine. Doctors have been using them for quite some time to get a better look at the insides of the human body.
However, most of these sensors are quite large in size, as well as contain complicated machinery, which can lead them to get stuck inside and create problems that require surgery to resolve.
To take care of these logistical issues, scientists from Carnegie Mellon University are working on a new type of body sensor, which is not only biodegradable but also doesn’t rely on stored power.
This new generation of ingestible sensors are expected to contain silicon-based circuitry embedded inside biodegradable materials, giving them the ability to dissolve inside your body on their own.
The great thing about Silicon and other elements like it (magnesium and copper) is the fact that they are not only processed naturally in the body, but are also used to create electronics.
These electronic circuits, when embedded in a Biodegradable Hydrogel, can easily be used as a replacement for current body pills.
To provide this unique contraption with the power needed to perform, the researchers are looking into creating batteries made with materials like melanin and manganese oxide, which could use stomach acid as an electrolyte.
This would make the device completely self sustainable. Tests of such a battery in laboratory settings has already revealed that it can be used to provide 5 milliwatts of power for up to 20 hours, which is enough time to run all sorts of tests.
With these successful laboratory tests completed, the focus of the research will now shift on completing the creation of these unique sensors for future human trails, which are a major steps to complete if we ever want this amazing technology to become a mainstream diagnostic tool.