Ingestible Sensor Image
UC San Diego Researchers develop a self-powered ingestible sensor system designed to monitor metabolites in the small intestine over time. (Credit: David Baillot for the Jacobs School of Engineering, UC San Diego)

A battery-free, pill-shaped ingestible biosensing system provides continuous monitoring in the intestinal environment. Gut metabolites can be monitored in real time, which could unlock new understanding of intestinal metabolite composition.

The ingestible, biofuel-driven sensor facilitates in-situ access to the small intestine, making glucose monitoring easier while generating continuous results. These measurements provide a critical component of tracking overall gastrointestinal health, a major factor in studying nutrition, diagnosing and treating various diseases, preventing obesity, and more.

The self-powered glucose biofuel biosensor is integrated into a circuit that performs energy harvesting, biosensing, and wireless telemetry using a power-to-frequency conversion scheme utilizing magnetic human body communication.

The unique battery-free operation is made possible by the use of glucose biofuel cell (BFC) for obtaining power during operation while simultaneously measuring changing glucose concentrations. Its energy-efficient magnetic human body communication (mHBC) scheme operates in the 40–200 MHz range to receive the time-resolved transmitted signals.

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Self-Powered Ingestible Sensor Opens New Avenues for Gut Research