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Medicine Science

New Ingestible Pill Can Track Your Farts In Real Time (arstechnica.com) 76

A group of Australian researchers have 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," reports Ars Technica. The invention has been reported in the journal Nature Electronics. From the report: The authors are optimistic that the capsule's gas readings can help clear the air over the inner workings of our intricate innards and the multitudes of microbes they contain. Such fume data could clarify the conditions of each section of the gut, what microbes are up to, and which foods may cause problems in the system. Until now, collecting such data has been a challenge. The capsule is 26mm in length, with a 9.8mm external diameter -- like a large vitamin. Its polymer shell surrounds sensors for temperature, CO2, H2, and O2, as well as a button-size silver oxide battery and a transmission system. One end of the capsule contains a gas-permeable membrane that allows for fast diffusion of gut gases.

New Ingestible Pill Can Track Your Farts In Real Time

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  • by Laxator2 ( 973549 ) on Thursday January 11, 2018 @05:11AM (#55906643)

    The main utility of such a pill + phone app would be to let everyone else around me know when I'm about to fart. I will know anyway.

    Also, it would make excuses like "It wasn't me!" completely moot.

    • You can also automatically post each bottom burp on Facebook so your friends don't miss a thing.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        You can also automatically post each bottom burp on Facebook so your friends don't miss a thing.

        Ah, just like the early days of Twitter, when I always knew when people were taking a shit.

      • In other news, GoPro has developed a miniature Bluetooth fingernail-cam, so you can share your pickings close-up on Facetime.

    • by NoNonAlphaCharsHere ( 2201864 ) on Thursday January 11, 2018 @05:49AM (#55906723)
      Yeah. I just don't get the value-add here. My wife has been detecting my farts in real time for YEARS now.
      • My wife has been detecting my farts in real time for YEARS now.

        This "Fantastic Voyage" Flatulence Nano Submarine may help scientists to develop medicines that will make your farts smell Tutti Fruitti.

        And also add a gas to our farts that will capture carbon dioxide in the air. Thus, curing Global Warming.

        Eat beans! It's good for the planet climate!

    • by geekmux ( 1040042 ) on Thursday January 11, 2018 @06:47AM (#55906847)

      The main utility of such a pill + phone app would be to let everyone else around me know when I'm about to fart. I will know anyway.

      The marketing of mass amounts of telemetry has reeked of bullshit for years now. This is just another crappy data metric to put a price tag on. And yes, it will sell.

      Also, it would make excuses like "It wasn't me!" completely moot.

      Perhaps that's the entire point. We'll be able to pinpoint who farted in a crowd with precise accuracy using a combination of Bluetooth, WiFi, and GPS triangulation. Just when we've started to conquer harassment, someone pulls a new way to do it out of their ass.

      • by arth1 ( 260657 )

        What would be useful would be to detect who farted in an elevator. That ranks near the top of non-codified crimes along with leaving a single square of toilet paper, or leaving the pub before their round is up.

    • by mjwx ( 966435 ) on Thursday January 11, 2018 @08:20AM (#55907065)

      The main utility of such a pill + phone app would be to let everyone else around me know when I'm about to fart. I will know anyway.

      Also, it would make excuses like "It wasn't me!" completely moot.

      The main utility of such a pill is to give you enough notice to move closer to the dog.

      Besides, I can usually track my farts based on the sounds emitting from my arse... if not the smell.

      • by tattood ( 855883 )

        Besides, I can usually track my farts based on the sounds emitting from my arse... if not the smell.

        When are you not able to track the farts from your own arse?

    • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

      Also, it would make excuses like "It wasn't me!" completely moot.

      This is probably one of the biggest laments that happened when planes switched from 3 pilots in the cockpit to two. After all, with three, should the lower pressure environment cause one of them to make an emission, no one is quite sure who did it. With two pilots though...

      Of course, things are worse since 9/11 forced the cockpit door to remain shut at all times. Now you know why pilots sometimes left the door open!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 11, 2018 @05:16AM (#55906647)

    Naturally the article is on arstechnica!

    • by dublin ( 31215 )

      Stephen Green had what may be the best comment possible on this at Instapundit the other day [pjmedia.com] (He's edging on @Iowahawk quality snark here):

      Please keep this technology out of the hands of my young sons, who would undoubtedly ingest several of these along with Pop Rocks and a two-liter bottle of Coke.

  • We're Creating a Perfect Storm of Unprecedented Global Warming
    • We're Creating a Perfect Storm of Unprecedented Global Warming

      Well the kids these days do like their avocado hummus...

  • sounds like a load of guff [urbandictionary.com] to me.
  • it is about fats, am I right? I bet if it was measuring temperature, acidity, pressure, anything other than farts.. it would not have made it on the front page.
  • by bloodhawk ( 813939 ) on Thursday January 11, 2018 @06:32AM (#55906815)
    I have been able to track mine in real time for most of my life, the only exceptions being when I had particularly bad colds.
  • It's a suppository!

  • Unless the tracking data can be auto posted to facebook, twitter, snapchat, instagram and blogger it is useless.
  • What a time to be alive!

  • Like a large vitamin? Have you even seen a vitamin 1cm in diameter? If this is what you call a "large" vitamin, call me when they make a device the size of a regular vitamin.

    • by arth1 ( 260657 )

      "A vitamin"? You mean a molecule?
      If you mean a pill, write a pill. And yeah, this horse pill would be a big pill to swallow, but it's actually a standard size for capsules.

  • by wisebabo ( 638845 ) on Thursday January 11, 2018 @07:41AM (#55906951) Journal

    Actually if they could make a version of this for cows (and "persuade" the cows not to chew it on the way down) it might be able to retrieve some important data on their methane production.

    For those who don't know, methane is a much (20x) "stronger" greenhouse gas (and that's not even counting the smell). Ruminants are supposedly a large source of the gas (and I guess leaks from oil production and distribution) and so if a way to reduce their "emissions" were found that still allowed them to digest their food that could play a small but not insignificant role in reducing climate change. Perhaps genetically engineering the microbes so that they are not so methanogenic or adding some methane consuming microbes to their intestinal flora would do the trick.

    Or perhaps either 1) reducing the amount of "meat" eaten (not for me) or 2) perhaps growing the meat in tissue cultures or 3) making really good substitute "meat" using genetically engineered plants that taste like meat (through the inclusion of hemoglobin like iron associated proteins that give meat its taste).

    • Cows get all the blame but termites emit more methane than cows [quora.com].

    • by dublin ( 31215 )

      Methane doesn't smell.
      Farts smell because of the organosulfur compounds that go along with them.
      Natural gas smells because the utility adds stinky mercaptans (also organosulfur compounds, like most smelly stuff) so you can smell dangerous gas leaks.

    • by epine ( 68316 )

      For those who don't know, methane is a much (20x) "stronger" greenhouse gas (and that's not even counting the smell).

      Yeah, for those who don't know:

      At room temperature and standard pressure, methane is a colorless, odorless gas.

      Can We Reduce Cow Methane Emissions By Breeding Low-Emission Cattle? [slashdot.org]

      Carbon, Methane Emissions and the Dairy Cow [psu.edu]

      The ruminant animal is unique because of its four stomach compartments: reticulum, rumen, omasum and abomasum.

      The rumen is a large, hollow muscular organ where microbial fe

    • Cows don't generate most of their methane from farts, it comes out of their mouths as burps. We also already have massive information about their methane production and even ways to massive reduce it through feed, however those feeding methods tend to only be viable in feedlots where you can control what they eat.
  • Underneath all of our fancy gadgets, clothing, titles, money, and neurosis, we are still giggling monkeys in the bush, lighting our farts and hoping that the resulting glee will somehow diminish the pain of eternal darkness after death. No wonder our society is so neurotic.

    • by sl3xd ( 111641 )

      There's nothing dignified about cutting a turd loose. There's nothing elegant about removing shit stuck to your body.

      We all know that from the smallest baby to the most gorgeous supermodel: all must go through the humiliation of giving birth to a politician.

      If there's one thing that unites all of humanity, it's the knowledge that we all must check our egos at the door, and rendezvous with last night's supper.

  • Didn't the McKenzie brothers have prior art: "It wasn't me, eh. It was the chair"; "Check the machine, he's lying, eh?"; "He's lying alright!"
  • I have been reading Slashdot for years in the hopes of a real, practical, cutting edge technology with real world applications. FINALLY!
  • Has its own soundtrack:

    I go to your land down under
    Where wind blows and then chunders

  • It's like scientists are now TRYING to win Ignobel Prizes.

    • by sl3xd ( 111641 )

      It certainly qualifies: Makes you laugh at first, but then you think.

      It's not about farts so much as modeling the gut.

      I've got a niece who can't eat without debilitating pain once the food hits her stomach, so having a better idea why may be very useful.

  • "Vegeta, what does the pill say about his flatulence level!?"

    "It's over NINE THOUSAAAAND!!!"

  • ...Someone blows smoke up your ass?

  • Seems to me that Arstechnica really earned their name with this article...
  • Jeez, I need to get out more.
  • The one who tracked it.. cracked it.
  • For you.

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