Feeling the gut

Published: Monday 30 November 1998

Engineers send self-powered robots down oil and gas pipelines to check their condition. So researchers at University College in London have devised similar technique for use inside the human intestine. Two small units, which the researchers have compared to sausages, carry a television camera, a radio transmitter, a battery unit and a motor. Controlled by radio signals from a hand-held joystick, the motor contorts the sausages in waves, making them "wiggle" through. Images transmitted to a monitor allow doctors to see what is happening without exposing their patients to the hazards of X-rays or painful surgeries.

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