A close up of the swallowble sensor. (Credit: Peter Clarke/RMIT University)

Findings from the first human trials of a breakthrough gas-sensing swallowable capsule could revolutionize the way that gut disorders and diseases are prevented and diagnosed.

The ingestible capsule (the size of a vitamin pill) detects and measures gut gases — hydrogen, carbon dioxides, and oxygen — in real time. This data can be sent to a mobile phone.

The new technology and discoveries offer a game-changer for the one-in-five people worldwide who will suffer from a gastrointestinal disorder in their lifetime. They could also lead to fewer invasive procedures like colonoscopies.

The trials showed that the human stomach uses an oxidizer to fight foreign bodies in the gut. The trials also demonstrated that the capsule could offer a much more effective way of measuring microbiome activities in the stomach, a critical way of determining gut health.

The capsule offers a noninvasive method to measure microbiome activity. This could represent a gastric protection system against foreign bodies. Such an immune mechanism has never been reported before. Now that the capsule has successfully passed human trials, the research team is seeking to commercialize the technology.