When a doctor wants to measure your heart rate and breathing, he or she usually takes out the traditional stethoscope and applies it to various parts of your chest. This is the way things have been done for decades.
However, researchers at MIT have created what amounts to a stethoscope in a pill, according to Gizmag. The device is tiny enough to swallow but is packed with sensors that can pick up your breathing and heart beats and a wireless device to transmit the information gathered to a receiver that is within about ten feet of you.
Because the device is swallowed, it is passed through the gastrointestinal tract within a day or so, and then you would have to swallow another device if you need to continue to have your heart rate and breathing monitored. For that reason, the stethoscope in a pill is likely an expensive alternative to a regular stethoscope for a checkup in a doctor’s office. However, some specialized uses could be found for the device.
For instance, the medical device industry could offer the ingestible stethoscope to hospitals and trauma centers. They can also be used to assess the performance of soldiers on the battlefield or athletes on the playing field.
Future versions of the device will be able to detect various heart problems. Farther in the future, the devices will be able to fix problems by dispensing medication the moment they are detected. Thus the era when people have implantable and ingestible devices monitoring their health in real time is drawing nigh.
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