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Tiny Pill Relays Body Temperature of Firefighters In Real-time

samzenpus posted about a year and a half ago | from the it's-in-the-pill dept.

Australia 67

pcritter writes "Australian firefighters are enlisting the help of tiny pill to battle fires. In a training exercise, 50 firefighters swallowed the LifeMonitor capsule which is equipped with a thermometer and a transmitter. The pill transmits data to a device worn on the chest, which also gathers data on heartbeat, respiration and skin temperature. This data is relayed in real-time, allowing better management of heat-stress during firefighting. Victoria's Country Fire Authority trialed this new mechanism when they found that the standard measurement of temperature by the ear was an ineffective indication of heat-stress. The pill is expelled naturally after two days."

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how do you manage heat stress? (1)

sigxcpu (456479) | about a year and a half ago | (#42623787)

In Australia heat stress is usually cause by drinking warm beer.

Re:how do you manage heat stress? (4, Informative)

sidevans (66118) | about a year and a half ago | (#42623807)

We don't drink warm beer mate, if you open a warm beer at a party its the last one you drink there.

Re:how do you manage heat stress? (1)

stainlesssteelpat (905359) | about a year and a half ago | (#42623819)

So we now know Tony Abbott is medically a reptile, Awesome. News at 11.

Re:how do you manage heat stress? (1)

Bill_the_Engineer (772575) | about a year and a half ago | (#42625201)

Damn straight.

Re:how do you manage heat stress? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42625627)

Huh? I thought we Americans were the only ones to drink our beer cold?

Re:how do you manage heat stress? (1)

chihowa (366380) | about a year and a half ago | (#42628431)

Huh? I thought we Americans were the only ones to drink our beer cold?

The worse the beer tastes, the colder you have to drink it. Most beer produced in high volume in both the US and Australia (note: this list is not exhaustive) taste like shit and must be consumed cold. Of course, warm beer (like actually above room temperature) tastes pretty shitty, too.

Re:how do you manage heat stress? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42628717)

Explains hot sake.

suit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42623809)

What about a suit covered in sensors?

Re:suit (4, Informative)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about a year and a half ago | (#42623901)

Core temperature is important for medical reasons. A suit would give you the temperature of the skin.

Re:suit (4, Insightful)

TapeCutter (624760) | about a year and a half ago | (#42624033)

They wear heavy wool "suits", wool is fireproof and an excellent insulator that protects them from radiant heat that can melt a car windscreen from 100 meters away. Imagine dressing for an outdoors job in Chicago in winter, but instead your fighting one of these fires on foot, on a 40degC summers day, with 120km/h bone dry winds blowing off the central deserts for added discomfort. The surface temperature of the suit is meaningless, it's the core temperature of the human that matters. Thing is, these suits work both ways, it's just as hard for heat to get out as it is to get in, the body is left with no way to cool itself and ceases to function, often without much warning. "Heat stroke" is a major killer here, especially during a heatwave such as the one we are experiencing now. It's not just the sick, stupid, or elderly, a healthy (~12yo) boy sadly collapsed and died just last week while hiking with his dad.

Disclaimer: I had a mild case of heat stroke as a child, it's like a cross between the worst food poisoning you have ever had combined with what feels like a pick-axe sticking out of your crown, I really wouldn't wish it on anybody, it's so painful you can't enjoy the hallucinations. Thing is, the day I got it was hot but nothing out of the ordinary, I was at a family BBQ with a bunch of other kids playing together, most likely I simply didn't drink enough fluids.

Re:suit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42624741)

"They wear heavy wool "suits"

Maybe as a base layer, but I would bet their outer protective garments are made of some sort of aramid.

Re:suit (2)

Jawnn (445279) | about a year and a half ago | (#42625223)

Correct, mostly. In the U.S., at least, structural firefighting gear is Nomex or Kevlar, or similar. Wildland firefighting gear is typically Nomex, but I believe that there are still a lot of wool trousers out there.

Re:suit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42625349)

wool is fireproof

Really? What are you feeding the sheep over there?

Re:suit (1)

RobertLTux (260313) | about a year and a half ago | (#42625497)

Im sure that the wool is treated a bit before they make it into a garment designed to be worn during a fire.

plus of course wool won't burst into flames and or melt into taffy.

its the principle of "level of approximation"

every girl is a supermodel with enough beers in you.

Re:suit (1)

blackdropbear (554444) | about a year and a half ago | (#42632793)

Sorry to disappoint you, we actually use single piece cotton overalls treated with flame retardent or a two piece trousers and top set (with fetching red braces) made of cotton treated with flame retardent. They are quite effective but I still wear a pair of jeans and a cotton shirt underneath as it improves the heat insulation. I also tend to try and get onto night shift so I can fight the actual fire as it is quite often too dicey during the day to do any direct attack. I have been know to wear a woolen jumper and singlet as well. This is after freezing one night at a fire where the temperature dropped to minus 1 celcius in the higher mountains.

The hard part... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42623827)

is recovering the re-usable pills after they are expelled. Seems the firefighters are reluctant to see them recovered and even more reluctant to be in the second round of trials for some reason.

Re:The hard part... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42623899)

Making it hard to recover is part of the business model.
Its the same idea of selling lots of replacement razor blades but adapted to this kind of sensor.

Re:The hard part... (1)

sharkey (16670) | about a year and a half ago | (#42627843)

Based on several movie clips I ran across on the Internet, there's a probably a big market in Germany for disposal of the used devices.

Great news. (3, Funny)

marevan (846115) | about a year and a half ago | (#42623855)

During rescue-academy studies there is a heat stress test, which is to test the students capabilities under physical workload and lots of heat. They used to use anal thermometers, which were real pain in the ass. So this is great news!

Re:Great news. (2)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year and a half ago | (#42626243)

So this is great news!

If you can stomach it, that is.

But... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42623863)

Do they contain Everything Killers?

Re:But... (1)

Iskender (1040286) | about a year and a half ago | (#42624597)

Hah, I pretty much came here to see if someone else made that connection.

If they deploy this tech more broadly in the future there's going to be an apparently random, small group of people who are somehow very hesitant about it.

Re:But... (1)

s.petry (762400) | about a year and a half ago | (#42627023)

Depends on what you know about the pill. If you don't believe your precious government would give you bad things because 1) you get to be an unwilling guinea pig or 2) they don't like you or 3) you are of the race/religion the people in power dislike.. then you are an ignorant fool.

Does that mean these sensors would fall into the same category as LSD? Well, you can bet your ass smart people are skeptical and want to know as much as possible about the sensors prior to swallowing them. And you start reading that young male fire fighters wake up from dreams of a certain Bush family member and complaining about sore assholes.. you can be sure that the pills are more than sensors.

If some of those references are too obscure, I guess you can go learn something.

The pill is expelled naturally (4, Funny)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about a year and a half ago | (#42623873)

This being the CFA I assume the pills are expected to be reused.

Re:The pill is expelled naturally (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42623985)

Along the lines of the first thing that sprung to my mind. I recall recently they were using a cheaper form of electrolyte powder to save about 5 grand a year or something.

The procedure will no doubt outline to the user how to identify the pill, and how to mail back for cleaning and a battery change...

Well, not on topic (1)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | about a year and a half ago | (#42624607)

But according to Victorian Pharmacy, it used to be happen that a pill was made of heavy toxic metals and then swallowed to purge the system. Clear out the old tubes. The pill was pretty expensive but since it was metal it didn't dissolve or anything... and since swallowing it... shall we say... loosened stuff up a bit. It came out... ready for re-use... in the family.

EWH!

Then again, re-usable pill VS traditional method of getting a reliable core temperature reading. Can you guess how that is done?

Re:The pill is expelled naturally (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42627819)

yes just be careful which bowl you choose a pill from, the 'returns' won't taste as nice until they are washed etc

Ah, it's the weekend downunder. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42623887)

And time for samzenpus to begin spamming Slashdot with bullshit from and about his beloved Strarlya.

Old News (4, Informative)

TubeSteak (669689) | about a year and a half ago | (#42623935)

Nothing about this technology is new.
Professional and rich college sports teams have been using it since the early 2000s to monitor potential heatstroke in players during summer practice and the pills cost $30~$40 each.

I believe it all started with NASA wanting a good way to get actual body temperatures of astronauts.
At the time, the only accurate measurement technique was a thermometer in the butt...
And that isn't a method that allows you to gather long term data.

FYI - Those in-ear thermometers and IR skin thermometers are only useful as indicators. Their readings cannot be considered representive of your core temperature.

Re:Old News (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42623971)

Yep it's NASA tech originally (or at least, that's what they said in this same story about the Victorian firefighters using it, which I heard on the radio yesterday here in Australia). Not sure they've used it in firefighters before but the tech itself is nothing new (so I'm not sure this is really much of a story, really).

Re:Old News (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42625997)

The U.S. Navy also uses them to monitor for onset of hypothermia when training various special operations teams.

Good Idea, Aliens Style Readouts (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42624005)

When I was a rookie I almost went down several times with heat exhaustion. Had other friends get cut off from their exit by a collapse during a training burn right after fire academy, fortunately only a few hand and neck burns which required skin grafts.
An Aliens style readout next to the pumper engineers pannel with telem from firefighters and a IR helmet cam feed would save many lives.
The greatest OTJ killer of firefighters is actually stress heart attacks, much of this stress is from overheating.

The pill is expelled naturally after two days... (1)

OpenSourced (323149) | about a year and a half ago | (#42624027)

... to be reused.

hey city dweller, yr drinking water is recycled... (3, Informative)

fantomas (94850) | about a year and a half ago | (#42624073)

Well if you live anywhere with an urban infrastructure, chances are the water you had in your coffee / glass of tap water by your bed side has been recycled through other people too....

Re:hey city dweller, yr drinking water is recycled (4, Insightful)

TuringCheck (1989202) | about a year and a half ago | (#42624119)

All water and air and pretty much everything on Earth has been recycled through other creatures...

Re:hey city dweller, yr drinking water is recycled (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42625477)

Don't tell me that and then ask me to drink shit water.

Re:hey city dweller, yr drinking water is recycled (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42624225)

Not in Australia - certainly not in Melbourne. Our water falls in the catchments, runs through to the reservoirs, then through the pipes to our taps. It then goes through the sewage system, and out into the ocean after treatment.

Yes, you got that right: in a country that struggles for enough water a great deal of the time, we run the water through just once. It's lunacy. Especially when you realise that we've built desalination plants rather than bringing the quality of the treated outflow up to drinking standard - and that most of our sewerage plants produce "class A" water, which is only a few steps removed from drinking quality.

Re:hey city dweller, yr drinking water is recycled (1)

blackdropbear (554444) | about a year and a half ago | (#42632801)

Unless you happen to live downstream of the first house on the murray-darling system as then your water is recycled thorugh every damn house/town on that system. It also explains Adelaide, and their water.

Re:hey city dweller, yr drinking water is recycled (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42625003)

The water may be recycled but I don't have to manually separate out my poo before flushing the toilet. I wouldn't want to have to go digging through my shit every time I went to the bathroom to recover the pill.

Pun intended (1)

lolococo (574827) | about a year and a half ago | (#42624101)

With this technology, I'm expecting that raw firefighters must be rare :)

Which is it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42624233)

Is it blue or red?

Speaking as a structural firefighter in the US (4, Informative)

CFD339 (795926) | about a year and a half ago | (#42624305)

As a structural firefighter in the US, I fail to see the need for this other than in some specialized testing to help make better procedures.

Our work is not like the movies. Yes, we wear heavy gear. Yes, it's quite hot in that gear even if there is no fire on a warm day. Inside a several hundred degress (F) building, it does it's job quite well. (Wool may be used as an insulator -- though I don't think so -- but only inside the carbon fiber and gnomex coverings which are far more important).

We go into a building wearing an air bottle good for about 30 minutes for most people in good shape. A bit less if you're working hard, a bit more if you stretch it. After about 2/3 of that time (20min) a low air alert vibrates the mask letting you know it's time to leave. You have ten minutes before it becomes a problem.

When we exit the building we go immediately to a "rehab" area manned by EMT's. We take off our coats (on a winter day you can see the steam coming off us) and are required to drink a 20oz bottle of water. The EMTs take heart rate and blood pressure readings as we enter rehab, and before we have to pass their requirements for health and safety -- basically that both heart rate and bp are dropping back toward normal readings.

Nothing in this pill is going to change the requirements of the job. Carrying more stuff just makes the job harder. We're already laden with 80 pounds of stuff entering the building.

Re:Speaking as a structural firefighter in the US (3, Informative)

CaptainDefragged (939505) | about a year and a half ago | (#42624445)

In this instance, the study is with the Country Fire Authority in Victoria, which means they are mostly fighting bushfires dressed in overall type materials. Whilst they do structural fires too in the rural areas, wildfires are their bread and butter. A good example is today, where it's been 45 to 47 degrees celcius most of the day with less than 20% humidity. Add to that strong, searing hot winds. They are there for hours, days or even weeks in some cases They look something like this: http://images.3aw.com.au/2009/02/09/375630/1fire424-3-424x283.jpg [3aw.com.au]

Re:Speaking as a structural firefighter in the US (3, Interesting)

CFD339 (795926) | about a year and a half ago | (#42624601)

We have that kind of firefighting here as well, though different gear is worn. Typically thin gnomex overalls covering regular clothing is sufficient (helmet and gloves of course). That photo looks like structural firefighters attacking a brush fire -- probably a relatively small one or in a particularly dense area of population. You don't fight big forestry fires with water. You fight them with shovels (and where possible bulldozers) and back-fires. You use the shovel (or pulaski tool) to create a fire break around the fire. When a wild fire is said to be "50% contained" it means that they've been able to get a fire break around 50% of the fire. Usually, the fire itself will create its own break on the upwind side as it buns away from the wind, while the firefighters have to carve one out ahead of the fire and to the sides.

Re:Speaking as a structural firefighter in the US (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42624927)

I got a feeling the CFA knows how to fight a bushfire mate. They are likely trying to save an asset - might be spot fires from ember attack. As a structural guy, you probably don't experience the dynamics of fire and high winds very much.

Unlike a building fire, when you are our in bushfire, with 40c+ heat + embers + high wind, there is no respite. You can't 'leave' the building. No bubble bath when your 30 mins is up I'm afraid - I jest of course, the CFA has sent many men over to calif during your big wildfires, we are all on the same team.

I don't see how a pill is going to add much to your pack though...

Re:Speaking as a structural firefighter in the US (2)

CFD339 (795926) | about a year and a half ago | (#42626521)

Chill, dude. I'm sure CFA knows how to fight brush fires. What I'm saying is, you usually have different teams of people with different gear who usually fight the different kinds of fire. Given that they were using water in that photo and based on my experience, I can assume they are near a source of water. That, plus the gear they're wearing, implies they're more of a town crew than a wild land crew IN THAT PHOTO. You can relax now.

Also, the pill would add very little -- the transmitter worn on the chest that relays the data -- that's another matter.

Re:Speaking as a structural firefighter in the US (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42631613)

Chill, dude. I'm sure CFA knows how to fight brush fires. What I'm saying is, you usually have different teams of people with different gear who usually fight the different kinds of fire. Given that they were using water in that photo and based on my experience, I can assume they are near a source of water. That, plus the gear they're wearing, implies they're more of a town crew than a wild land crew IN THAT PHOTO. You can relax now.

Also, the pill would add very little -- the transmitter worn on the chest that relays the data -- that's another matter.

The water source is probably one of these.

http://media.monstersandcritics.com/galleries/1591689/0162667655085.jpg

There is already a transmitter used for data, it's an additional receiver for that - which is tiny.

Re:Speaking as a structural firefighter in the US (2)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | about a year and a half ago | (#42624589)

Well... lets compare australian firefighters with american firefighters shall we.

I can see that you Americans might be worried about extra weight. :p

But serious, you are talking about a building fire. What about a forest fire? One that may last for days, even weeks? I do not know much about heat but I did do my tour in the snow and frostbite was far easier to spot then gradual undercooling but frostbite doesn't kill you. Undercooling does. Your outside can withstand a huge temperature range especially for short times. Your insides cannot and overheating and undercooling are serious concerns for people operating in extremes.

You have to ask a doctor, all we were told is to constantly check each other and if one was especially dimwitted (lets face it, we were all guys to stupid to escape the draft) to immediately report it and not leave them alone. It would have been a great deal easier if we could just check a readout and see that your buddy was just asleep on his feet and not freezing to dead.

I can imagine that firefighters in the middle of a hell hole nation breaking record temperatures fighting week long forest fires in what is in essence a insulating container doing hard work might be at risk from overheating. It happens to sportsmen in shorts.

It does you no credit to compare your 20 min house fires with massive forest fires in 50 degree Celsius heat. Also, why do you THINK you are checked over? Because people DIED before that was introduced. Your predeccesors probably look at all the stuff you are carrying and see nothing but a nancy boy. But they are dead and you are not yet. Lets trust that the doctors in this case want to make sure these Australian firefighters stay alive and not just make them swallow poopie pills for laughs.

Re:Speaking as a structural firefighter in the US (1)

CFD339 (795926) | about a year and a half ago | (#42626551)

Not comparing a 20 minute house fire. We have many hours (and days -- though not where I live) forest fires in the states as well. They wear different gear, and yes, it's much lighter (as I said in my post, if you read it) but they're doing a lot more work over longer periods. They also have regulations as to how long and how close they are to the fire, and emergency procedures if they're overrun.

Re:Speaking as a structural firefighter in the US (3, Interesting)

thegarbz (1787294) | about a year and a half ago | (#42624855)

Procedures is exactly what this is about. How long can a firefighter work before suffering the effects of heatstress is the question. Humans themselves are horrendous judges of their own health while under the influence of adrenaline. I remember one fire (industrial firefighting) where one of the guys was on cooling duties on surrounding equipment. The main fire took ages to get under control and the hoseteam on cooling duties suddenly had one guy just drop the hose and pass out. No warning, no requests for a break, just splat. He was incredibly red and we rushed him to hospital.

Heat stress.

Re:Speaking as a structural firefighter in the US (1)

CFD339 (795926) | about a year and a half ago | (#42626645)

Part of this is a cultural problem. Firefighters have this tendency to not want to take the needed break. They don't want to seam weak, and they don't want to miss out on the work the train so hard to do but get to actually do so infrequently. We've worked hard in our department to break the habits of many that try to skip rehab and just go grab another air bottle.

Re:Speaking as a structural firefighter in the US (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42627775)

Firefighters have this tendency to not want to take the needed break. They don't want to seam weak

I want you to know that "firefighter" is about as opposite to "weak" as it gets, breaks or no.

I have the privilege of knowing two firefighters. They're co-workers of mine. They're volunteers. They've fought fires late at night and then come into work early in the morning. They've been injured while fighting fires. They've risked their lives countless times. They're also some of the most noble and kindhearted men I have ever had the pleasure of knowing.

They're modest, too. I really, deeply respect them and what they do. Some of the fires they've fought must look like the very gates of Hell itself. These are brave men. I imagine they're not afraid of anything. They don't walk on water of course, but (if you pardon the vernacular) they have giant balls of steel. They're heroes. Since I was a little boy I always thought so.

I asked one of them about the PPE they wear. He had it with him in his vehicle, so on a break he asked me if I'd like to try on the fire-resistant jacket. Honestly I didn't feel worthy to wear it, and I said so, but he told me that was alright. Then he showed me the mask and breathing gear, told me about a few times the mask didn't fully protect someone, showed me an old mask he kept that couldn't be used anymore because parts of it had freaking melted while it was being worn.

Bless you and all other firefighters for everything that you do. You're REAL men and REAL women. I have nothing but respect for that.

Re:Speaking as a structural firefighter in the US (1)

CFD339 (795926) | about a year and a half ago | (#42629977)

Thank you. That sounds like many of the guys I know on the department. Something like 86% of all firefighters in the US -- protecting about 42% of homes and businesses -- are call responders (volunteers, if you ignore the fact that they do get paid a small amount and are usually covered by some insurance). Only about 8% of all the departments in the country have no volunteer call companies.

Re:Speaking as a structural firefighter in the US (1)

thegarbz (1787294) | about a year and a half ago | (#42631413)

Here. Here. I know exactly what you mean. Even though I'm only on a backup firefighting team I have nothing but respect for even the smallest of the firefighters and rescue crew that I have worked with. I have no experience what it is like fighting a building or bush fire, but from what I have seen in the industrial firefighting it takes balls unseen in the common people to take a hose and start stepping closer and closer to a leaking burning gas fire.

We don't have too much of a problem on the backup team with culture, but I have witnessed it even during the controlled training sessions on the primary firefighting teams.

Neil Stepehson's Anathem (SPOILER ALERT) (1)

kwikrick (755625) | about a year and a half ago | (#42624427)

In Neil Stephenson's novel Anathem, the main characters take a pill that supposedly monitors their temperature, turns out to be a small, remote triggered, neutron bomb.

I might hesitate to take such a pill. You never know what else it does....

Rick.

Re:Neil Stepehson's Anathem (SPOILER ALERT) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42625415)

turns out to be a small, remote triggered, neutron bomb

That sounds cost effective. I'm sure there isn't a cheaper way to dispatch individuals.

Re:Neil Stepehson's Anathem (SPOILER ALERT) (0)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year and a half ago | (#42625641)

Wow, you're a real asshole. I'm sure fucking glad that A) I've already read Anathem and B) I caught the foreshadowing for that detail when I read the book so it wouldn't have mattered anyway.

But seriously, you need a lot more space before a spoiler, and to bury it in a lot more text so that it doesn't leap out at people. I literally read the text of your comment by accident while trying to scroll past it, before I even saw the title of the work you were discussing.

old news (1)

pbjones (315127) | about a year and a half ago | (#42624509)

this happened sometime in 2012, nothing to see, nothing to see, or just wait a day or two for the clang in the toilet bowl.

Re:old news (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42631597)

this happened sometime in 2012, nothing to see, nothing to see, or just wait a day or two for the clang in the toilet bowl.

Yes, but the guy who wrote the app is flushed with pride.

Impractical (1)

FrostedWheat (172733) | about a year and a half ago | (#42624679)

I find this whole idea hard to swallow.

you know... (1)

buddyglass (925859) | about a year and a half ago | (#42624797)

I read about college football teams using these in very hot weather about a year or two ago. To prevent guys dying of heat stroke.

trialed? trialed?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42625017)

someone needs to dialogue sternly with this author.

"The pill is expelled" (1)

ameline (771895) | about a year and a half ago | (#42625129)

Nice use of the passive voice. I imagine this process won't feel so passive in the first person. Neither will recovering it from the other "expelled" material.

Navy uses this as well... (1)

Mahldcat (1129757) | about a year and a half ago | (#42625779)

Was watching Surviving the Cut, season 2 episode 1, and they mentioned that during some of the more arduous swims in open water, they have the service members swallow this pill that transmits core body temp, heart rate etc so that the medics can monitor them while they complete their mission.

And for those who don't like pills (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about a year and a half ago | (#42626189)

Good news, everyone! It also comes as a suppository!

This pill has been used by the NFL (1)

Stan92057 (737634) | about a year and a half ago | (#42626581)

This pill has been used by the NFL to monitor body temps while practicing in the hot august weather. Not something new here.

Hacking a DIY pillcam (1)

jago25_98 (566531) | about a year and a half ago | (#42668287)

Swallowing pill tech. I'd like to see all of this much more assessible and cheap. Ideally I'd like to see people taking it into their own hands or using a 3rd party just for sealing the units. You can get a swallowable pillcam - very useful for checking gut health. You should be able to do it yourself if you want to with buyer beware - no doctor.

How's about a crowd funded pillcam... under the guise of use for industrial inspection applications.

The difficult part is the sealing yet maintaining a clear view. Wireless comms makes it a bit more difficult to remain small but that's not essential if you're prepared to sift through your own crap. Besides, we see kickstarter projects getting to this size now with wireless - drugs smugglers swallow bigger packages.

This would be a very rewarding project because of the patents otherwise involved making this $100 tech $10,000. By making this tech available for cheap we can improve early cancer diag, crons, IBS, allsorts. And it would be one in the eye for patents.

Related tech:
http://hardware.slashdot.org/story/12/01/15/2317219/mri-powered-pill-sized-robot-swims-through-intestines [slashdot.org]

Your thoughts?
(other than "swallowing a battery is dangerous. we must have a doctor do it for us. we don't want people coming into casulty after a lithium battery rupture"
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