Sensors for monitoring gastrointestinal health

This project aims to test and help improve existing capsule technologies that can be ingested to monitor digestive processes and intestinal health inside the gastrointestinal (GI) tract of animals.

Two technologies are tested in this project: sensing and sampling capsules. Sensing capsules measure temperature, pH, and chemical species and transmit the data while travelling through the GI tract. Sampling capsules collect samples of digesta at specified points throughout the GI tract. These samples are then analyzed after the capsules pass through the GI tract. Scientifically, the data obtained is used to help further understand the digestion process, especially with respect to the microbiome. Practically, the capsules could be used to monitor the intestinal health of animals non-invasively.

Progress (September 2022)

A sensing capsule was tested in vivo with pigs. It managed to transmit data while traversing through the GI tract, but there were issues with some of the sensors. Another set of trials will be conducted once the sensors are fixed and improved. New collaborations have been established with academic and industry partners, to provide more capsule technologies to test and develop. The researchers aim to hire an Engineering Doctorate researcher to continue this process.