06/16/15 Micro sized medical devices are not only the way of the future, they’re in the here and now! Gizmag put out an amazing article about a pill sized laser that images the esophagus using micro sized components.
This device was created by a team at the Harvard University affiliated Wellman Center for Photomedicine at Mass General Hospital. It is being used to improve the view of the esophagus on people with a pre-cancerous condition called Barrett’s esophagus.
The clear multi-vitamin pill sized capsule is attached by a thin tether to an imaging control console. There is an optical frequency domain imaging system inside the capsule that incorporates a rapidly spinning near infrared laser. As the laser beam spins around it senses the lining of the esophagus and the image is reflected back into the capsule. Using that reflected light, a highly detailed 3D map of the lining is created. Once the capsule reaches the end of the esophagus it can be pulled back up and out of the body by the tethers.
The microscopic-scale images reveal a greater detail than the currently used high resolution endoscopy. It is also a much faster process, reducing the current time of 1.5hrs down to less than 1 minute.