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Subjects swallow space-age monitors.

Subjects swallow space-age monitors

Researchers are performing clinical trials on an ingestible silicon-coated capsule that may someday take the place of more cumbersome medical monitors. The 3/4-inch capsule contains a telemetry system, battery, crystal temperature system and four ceramic substrates with electronic components. When swallowed, the disposable capsule senses internal temperature and sends the information via telemetry signals to a receiving coil that can be sewn into a T-shirt. The shirt is wired to a data-analyzing computer. A newer version will have additional channels for sensing heart rate, acidity, electrical conductivity and pressure - the latter a measure of gastric motility.

The device is being developed by a team of engineers at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Md., with input from physicians, military personnel and other researchers interested in using ingestible monitoring systems. The work is funded by NASA.

Program manager Russel Eberhart says the team is working on an ambulatory receiver the size of a calculator that can record for a day and then download transmitted data to a computer for analysis. Says Eberhart: "Technology has finally caught up with the size of the gastrointestinal tract."
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Title Annotation:medical monitoring system
Publication:Science News
Date:Feb 13, 1988
Words:190
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