Philips camera pill easy to swallow

New intelligent camera pill can be electronically programmed to deliver targeted doses of medicine to patients with digestive disorders.

Leslie Katz Former Culture Editor
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Leslie Katz

Philips Research is out with a new intelligent camera pill that can be electronically preprogrammed to deliver targeted doses of medicine to patients with digestive disorders such as Crohn's disease, colitis, and colon cancer.

Philips iPill
Don't worry, this is not a life-size representation of the tiny Philips iPill. Philips

The device comes in the form of an 11 mm x 26 mm capsule that patients swallow with water, just like any other pill. It's designed to pass through the digestive tract of its own accord, meaning you just let nature take its course with this one.

The iPill determines its location via a pH sensor that measures the acidity of the environment, which varies throughout the intestinal tract. The device then releases medicine from its drug reservoir via a microprocessor-controlled pump--either in a burst or a progressive release. Philips says the smart pill can also deliver medicine to multiple locations.

Announced at the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists' annual meeting and exposition this week in Atlanta, the capsule is also designed to measure data such as local temperature, and report measurements wirelessly to an external receiver unit.

While its drug delivery system appears promising, the Philips iPill is not the first camera pill to enter the picture. Among other such products, GivenImaging created the PillCam Colon Capsule Endoscope for viewing the colon, as well the PillCam ESO for the esophagus and the PillCam SB for the gastrointestinal tract.