With ingestible pill, you can track fart development in real time
January 17, 2019 6:20 PM   Subscribe

Scientists often hope to break ground with their research. But a group of Australian researchers would likely be happy with breaking wind. The team developed an ingestible electronic capsule to monitor gas levels in the human gut. When it’s paired with a pocket-sized receiver and a mobile phone app, the pill reports tail-wind conditions in real time as it passes from the stomach to the colon.
In the high-fiber test, the man passed the pill in about 23 hours. But he was not happy about it. The super dose of fiber caused abdominal pain. In its four hours in the colon, the pill recorded elevated levels of O2, which could mess up anaerobes. Indeed, an analysis of fecal bacteria during this phase showed a shift toward species associated with poor gut health.

There were also problems in the low-fiber scenario. The pill took a little more than three days to work its way out. It spent 13 hours in the stomach, 5.5 in the small intestines, and a whopping 54 in the colon. In fact, about 36 hours after taking the pill, the man was given a high dose of fiber to try to move things along.
Accompanying editorial: Swallowable electronic capsules can provide gas profiles of the gut and distinguish changes in a person’s diet.
Fermentation patterns of individuals were also detectable using the capsules, which opens up the exciting possibility of monitoring a person’s response to a custom diet. We know that diet can be customized to modulate the microbiome, but in order to effectively design functional foods, feedback is needed to close the loop between a prescription and its effects — the gas-sensing capsule could provide the required link.
posted by cynical pinnacle (26 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
I will punish it with suicide wings chased with prune juice.
posted by Jessica Savitch's Coke Spoon at 6:32 PM on January 17 [2 favorites]

I want one
posted by saturday_morning at 6:34 PM on January 17 [2 favorites]

Breaking news
posted by jointhedance at 7:15 PM on January 17 [13 favorites]

Gone With The Wind
posted by armoir from antproof case at 8:14 PM on January 17

Why would I need a capsule to broadcast anything when my own depraved malfunctioning flesh prison provides a constant intestinal soundtrack akin to the noises made by the bog of eternal stench in 80s cult classic Labyrinth
posted by poffin boffin at 8:38 PM on January 17 [17 favorites]

I slept in a capsule hotel last night. I also monitored my fart production in real time.

This is amazing and I wish I could trial it. I'll never be an Olympian but this, this could be my opportunity to have my unique talents celebrated my humanity.
posted by Trivia Newton John at 8:45 PM on January 17 [7 favorites]

Needs KeepMeFiClassy tag.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 8:46 PM on January 17 [2 favorites]

one time recently i was frighteningly awakened in the dead of night by what i thought was a large angry unknown man in my bedroom shouting BROOONK!

but no. it was my own traitorous butt.
posted by poffin boffin at 8:48 PM on January 17 [23 favorites]

Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn 't stop to think if they should
posted by b1tr0t at 8:55 PM on January 17 [1 favorite]

it was my own traitorous butt.

There's video.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 9:33 PM on January 17

We are entering what future coprolite researchers will consider to be a remarkable and weird epoch.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 12:26 AM on January 18 [1 favorite]

MetaFilter: Happy with breaking wind.
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 12:33 AM on January 18 [1 favorite]

I will volunteer for every clinical trial for this device if its technology can be turned toward curing lactose intolerance. I just want to eat lasagna again without fear!!
posted by nicebookrack at 1:13 AM on January 18 [2 favorites]

So, does it have IFTTT integration?
posted by dominik at 3:36 AM on January 18 [3 favorites]

Needs KeepMeFiClassy tag

Added, thanks! Also added "KeepMeFiGassy" because why not
posted by cynical pinnacle at 3:58 AM on January 18 [5 favorites]

So, does it have IFTTT integration?

no, it has a newer, more advanced version of the protocol FFFFFFFFTTYTHHHHHHHHHHHTTT
posted by lalochezia at 4:45 AM on January 18 [3 favorites]

I want one of these so I can walk up to my friends and say, "hang on, the tracker says there's one coming in 30 seconds" *fart* "oh never mind, I guess it needs some adjustment, you know, prototypes lol" and then I will have no friends, so
posted by duffell at 5:47 AM on January 18 [6 favorites]

My Traitorous Butt sounds like the debut album from one of those vaguely serious 90s bands like Toad the Wet Sprocket.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 6:09 AM on January 18 [3 favorites]

posted by pracowity at 7:12 AM on January 18 [2 favorites]

I want one that looks like the proximity/motion sensor display from Aliens so I can be all like THEY'RE COMING OUT OF THE WALLS MAN
posted by Strange Interlude at 7:24 AM on January 18 [1 favorite]

It's astonishing how much gas volume one lousy piece of dried papaya can produce. And how many times one must stop and consider whether what wants out is gaseous, or a sudden bit of liquid from a lower intestinal tract which has simply given up. Which I am sure we have all had happen at precisely the wrong moment. I don't understand, though, how things with claimed -0- fiber can still produce immense clouds of vapour. And can we talk briefly about tofu? Well, perhaps not, as if we inhale, we'll be struck violently dumb with olfactory shock.

And can we mention that most heinous of offenders, candied ginger?

[ sighs, lifts a cheek ]
posted by seanmpuckett at 7:25 AM on January 18

thank you all for these lols this is gonna keep me going the rest of the day
posted by Space Kitty at 8:43 AM on January 18

Great advance, take a pill, be in a fart show.
posted by Oyéah at 8:44 AM on January 18

I dunno, having a device to catalogue and critique my farts kinda seems like automating my girlfriend out of a job.
posted by mrjohnmuller at 9:01 AM on January 18 [3 favorites]

I'm a little surprised by the relatively long transit time, but apparently it's about 8 meters from mouth to anus - about 5 hours to pass through the stomach, another 5 through the small intestine, then another 10 to 59 hours to exit through the colon.

Fiber and the ratio of carbohydrates to proteins are factor in transit time, but gut microbiome composition appears to play a role as well.
posted by porpoise at 2:57 PM on January 18 [1 favorite]

poffin boffin: you have a problem. You've been infested with 'California Barking Spiders'.
posted by zengargoyle at 8:02 PM on January 19

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