Swallow the robot: tiny camera might eliminate need for hated endoscopy

We’re all scared of an upper endoscopy, a tube’s truly uncomfortable journey inside our bodies. Now, a tiny robotic camera has been invented to eliminate the need for such invasive procedures.

Endiatx, a California-based telemedicine tech startup, has developed a swallowable robotic pill and is marketing it as a virtual endoscope or a “moving eyeball in the stomach.” The device has already moved on to clinical trials.

Named PillBot, the camera is remote-controlled and easily digestible. Inside a human body, the device – which is about the size of a pistachio – moves like a multicopter drone supported by its pumpjet thrusters.

According to Endiatx, the pill-shaped camera enables patients to consult with professional gastroenterologists around the world from the comfort of their homes.

Traditional upper endoscopy is hated by most but is sorely needed because thousands of stomach cancer cases worldwide are diagnosed too late for effective medical intervention.

Because most patients avoid the procedure and staff are overbooked, advances in the field of telemedicine could indeed help, experts say.

The Pillbot is specifically equipped with cameras, sensors, and wireless communication technology. Patients can swallow the motorized pill at home and then be examined by doctors remotely.

A doctor controls the robot within the patient’s stomach using a smartphone app. PillBot shuts down and exits the body naturally within six to twenty-four hours, Endiatx says.

Endiatx claims that with PillBot, telemedicine will advance significantly, and everyone will have equitable access to life-saving technology.

In the future, the company adds, PillBot might become fully autonomous with AI guidance. Moreover, the use of this technology could be expanded to examine the bowels, vascular system, heart, liver, brain, and other parts of the body.

As of today, though, Endiatx hasn’t yet secured the approval of the US Federal Drugs Administration. The hope is to launch the product commercially by early 2026.