MIT researchers pubblished recently ad article explaining their solution for the development of new controlled and prolonged release modes in the stomach: a smart capsule printed in 3D, able to communicate with the outside by Bluetooth.

The research of Kong and collegues has been pubblieshed on Advanced Materials Technologies. The project involves students, technicians,  engineers, and clinician from the MIT, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Charles Stark Draper Laboratory, Boston University School of Medicine and the University of Utah. Students from the University of Utah who are involved in the completion of the project are graduate student Palal Ghosh, who is a co-author of the paper, and an undergraduate student Hakimi Nazlie.

3D gastric resident electronic (GRE) concepts

GRE is designed to be delivered orally, reside in the stomach for weeks, and finally break up, pass through the pylorus and be excreted from the gastric space.

Specifically, the GRE can be compressed into a capsule‐size dosage form. The expansion of the device enables gastric residence and allows long‐term remote communication with personal device. Ultimately, the disintegration of the device allows the safe passage of the device from the gastric space. GRE is directly compatible with personal devices, such as a smart phone, empowering the users to communicate and control the long‐residence device without a specialized equipment. This enables a seamless interconnection with other wireless electronics peripherals, wearable devices, and biomedical implants, allowing a real‐time feedback‐based automated treatment or responsive medication.


The possible applications identified by its inventors include the possibility of identifying infections, allergies or other organic events, and releasing the necessary drug. The capsule is today powered by a small battery,  but could evolve in the future towards more innovative and efficient versions that could use, for example, the acidic environment of the stomach for the production of energy necessary for its operation. New sensors are also being studied, which will widen the range of possible applications such as to obtain different times of gastric permanence, or to treat highly immunosuppressed and high-risk patients, who could thus be monitored to immediately identify the onset of an infection.