AI-powered smart pills offer early detection of gastric diseases

Innovations in wearable electronics and AI at the University of Southern California (USC) Viterbi School of Engineering have led to the development of ingestible sensors capable of real-time 3D monitoring of gastrointestinal health. These smart pills can detect stomach gases and track their location in the body, potentially detecting gastritis and gastric cancers early.

Published in Cell Reports Physical Science, the study highlights how these sensors can be accurately monitored using a newly designed wearable system.

The sensors use an optical sensing membrane selective to gases like ammonia, indicative of conditions such as peptic ulcers and gastric cancer. Tested in various environments, including simulated bovine intestines, the device, which integrates a wearable coil generating a magnetic field, demonstrates significant promise. Future testing will involve swine models to validate its efficacy further.

The potential applications extend to monitoring brain health via the brain-gut axis, aiming for non-invasive detection of neurotransmitters related to neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.

New cooling textile could combat deadly urban heatwaves

This year, cities worldwide have faced extreme heat waves, with temperatures nearing 50°C. As global temperatures and urban populations rise, cities become “urban heat islands,” trapping heat due to dense construction and thermal radiation.

UChicago Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering PhD candidate Chenxi Sui (left) and Asst Prof Po-Chun Hsu show off a sample of a new cooling textile. PIC/JOHN ZICH

A new study from the UChicago Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering introduces a wearable fabric that can help mitigate these effects. Tested in Arizona, the fabric kept temperatures 2.3°C cooler than current sportswear materials and 8.9°C cooler than commercial silk. This innovation aims to reduce heat-related hospitalisations and deaths seen globally.

The fabric is designed to reflect both solar and thermal radiation. It can be used in clothing, building materials, and food storage, cutting energy costs and carbon emissions from air conditioning.

New robot can leap 200 metres

Engineers at The University of Manchester have designed a groundbreaking robot capable of jumping 200 metres, higher than any previously known jumping robot.

Using advanced mathematics, computer simulations, and lab experiments, the researchers optimised the robot’s size, shape, and part arrangement, allowing it to clear obstacles many times its own height.

The new design, published in Mechanism and Machine Theory, promises to revolutionise applications in planetary exploration, disaster rescue, and hazardous area surveillance. The design improves energy efficiency and performance, making it ideal for challenging terrains.

This advancement marks a significant leap from the current highest-jumping robot, which reaches only 33 metres. The team aims to enhance directional control and energy recovery for future models.