- Copper tail lets tiny capsule swim in body
- Can take photos or deliver medicines
- Steered by magnetic field of an MRI scanner
- First 'endoscope' camera that swims on its own
The classic sci fi film Fantastic Voyage had a team, led by Racquel Welch, miniaturised and injected into the bloodstream of an injured diplomat to save his life. The new swimming capsule does the same job - albeit a bit less glamorously
The shrunken capsule that navigated through a human body in sci-fi movie Fantastic Voyage is a step closer to reality – thanks to a tiny ‘capsule camera’ that can float through the human body.
It’s the first wireless, remote-controlled camera designed to ‘swim’ through the human body – controlled magnetically from outside using an MRI machine’s signals.
In the classic 1966 film, scientists shrank a craft and its crew and sent them inside a human body to save a life – that, of course, remains fiction, but the camera created by a team from Tel Aviv University can look for wounds and tumours without the discomfort of normal endoscopes.
Dr Gabor Kosa of Tel Aviv University told the journal Biomedical Microdevices it could also deliver medicine into the body.
He said, ‘An MRI has a very large constant magnetic field. The capsule needs to navigate according to this field, like a sailboat sailing with the wind.’
The way the capsules move, though, is more like swimming. Each has a tail - a combination of copper coils and flexible polymer.