Do you remember Fantastic Voyage? It was a movie created off the back of a Isaac Asimov novel. Basically, a full size spaceship was reduced to a minuscule size so it could explore the human body – it was 80s science fiction at its best. It seems that an unmanned remote control drone could make the film a reality – sort of.
This little device, called the Mermaid, has been designed to explore and take photographs of the stomach and intestinal tract. After being swallowed or inserted, the operator can take control of the Mermaid and guide it via remote control. It’s like a surreal computer game that is arguably a major step for medical exploration. It sure beats the traditional endoscope, which can be described as unpleasant at best.
The Mermaid measures 1cm by 4.5 cm and comes equipped with an ultra soft tail which allows it to ‘swim’ through the body. It has already been tested inside a dog’s intestinal tract in 2009 and has since gone through various upgrades and is currently undergoing field trials for humans.
Crazy advances in medical gadgets never cease to amaze me, I can’t help but wonder what we will have in ten years time.