Saturday, December 17, 2011

More dreams of near term nano

Nowadays when one goes in for a CT scan on your digestive organs you get this sort of milkshake like drink you have to swallow, a contrast agent. Or if you are unlucky enough to need a scope you'll have assorted piping slithered in one opening or the other. Your best hope is to get one of those pill cameras.

I'm envisioning a different approach based not on x-rays and radiation blocking contrast agents or intrusive devices but instead on food science and fiber optics. A swallowable transparent gel or syrup like solution which would make an excellent optical wave guide. Even a thin film of it persistent throughout each systalic wave would act as a waveguide. Low power laser emitters in the straw would supply pulses of light to each swallow, the light would propagate through the liquid and back scatter during dark phases between the pulses thus carrying information from the gut. Very sensitive cameras outside the patient (in a darkened room) could also capture light leaking out of the body. Pursued over a course of hours the entire digestive system could be mapped.