This robotic pill clears mucus from the gut to deliver meds
RoboCap administers medicine to the intestines and makes its way out of the body
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The new device, dubbed RoboCap, whisks away this problem. The pill uses surface grooves, studs and torpedo-inspired fins to scrub away intestinal mucus like a miniature brush whirling inside a bottle. In experiments in pigs, , depositing insulin or the IV antibiotic vancomycin along the way, Srinivasan and colleagues report September 28 in Science Robotics. After churning for about 35 minutes, the pill continued its trip through the gut and eventually out of the body.
RoboCap is the latest pill-like gadget made to be swallowed. In 2019, some of the same researchers who developed RoboCap debuted a different device — one that injects drugs by pricking the inside of the stomach (SN: 2/7/19). That pea-sized injector was not designed to work in the small intestine, where some drugs are most easily absorbed. The RoboCap may also be able to deliver larger drug payloads, Srinivasan says.