Tablets that drop to the size of a ping-pong ball when swallowed can track stomach cancer and sores and infection on the spot, say scientists.
The American tracer – inspired by the fish that speaks to the body if threatened – is trapped in the stomach and can work for up to a month.
"Puffer Pill" is made of two types of gel-like hydrogel material that allows it to withstand the effects of stomach healing and acidic digestive juices.
In laboratory tests, it was mixed with different water-like gastric juice solutions and mechanically pressed to simulate "grinding" gastric contractions
Dr. Xuanhe Zhao, MD, MD, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA, said: "It's a smart pill that once swallows, stays in the stomach, and keeps the patient's health for a long time like the moon."
Researchers, whose work is published in the Nature Communications magazine, predict flushing pills that can deliver a variety of sensors to the stomach.
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They can monitor acidity levels or look for signs of certain bacteria or viruses.
Small cameras can be installed in tablets to show tumor or ulcer progression.
Another application can be a safer and more comfortable alternative to gastric balloons used to suppress overweight and weight gain, scientists said.