UC San Diego researchers developing ingestible sensor for gut health research

A research team at the University of California San Diego has created a self-powered sensor to monitor metabolites in the small intestine. 

The sensor is battery free, glucose powered, pill shaped and ingestible, allowing researchers to monitor the metabolites in real time and in a more comfortable way for patients, according to a Dec. 1 news release. It is also said to make glucose monitoring easier. 

"In our experiments, the battery-free biosensor technology continuously monitored glucose levels in the small intestines of pigs 14 hours after ingestion, yielding measurements every five  seconds for two to five hours," Ernesto De La Paz Andres, a nanoengineering graduate student at UC San Diego and a co-first author of the study said in the release. "Our next step is to reduce the size of the pills from the current 2.6 cm in length so they will be easier for human subjects to swallow."

The new device can potentially help with gastrointestinal health, nutrition, diagnosis and treatment of disease as well as obesity prevention, according to the study. 

The research group plans to add more sensors to the system in the future. 

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