Robot pill takes snaps of entire gut

Medical care in Japan isn't always as advanced as some of the rest of the nation's technology, but the latest smart pill from RF System Lab is way ahead of the field when it comes to innovation.

The Sayaka capsule is designed to be swallowed and traverse the gastrointestinal tract, checking for problems via its onboard camera. The device is pretty big for a pill (23 x 9mm) but is a lot less intrusive than exploratory open surgery.

The major new technology is in the camera, which is positioned in the barrel of the pill, rather than at one end, and which rotates through 360 degrees to snap images from all parts of the gut as it goes.

High-resolution guts

RF System Lab reckons an eight-hour, 8m passage from entrance to exit will yield 870,000 photos - these are combined by software to produce a high-resolution image that can be analysed for abnormalities or changes since the last examination.

As with many such devices, Sayaka draws its juice from an external wire-free power source, meaning there's no risk from swallowing batteries or tiny nuclear submarines. Lastly, if you check out the product website, be sure to click in the box at the foot of the page to watch the spectacular house-music themed video of the pill in action or catch it here on YouTube .