As Gizmodo pointed out, ever since the days of The Magic School Bus that took a roller coaster-esque ride through the human body, we thought this day would one day come. Now, scientists and researchers at George W Woodruff School Of Mechanical Engineering at Georgia Tech, have developed a tiny chip that measures just 1.4 millimeters that can look inside the heart and travel through arteries.
This isn’t science fiction anymore. The tiny catheter based device will “provide forward-looking, real-time, three-dimensional imaging from inside the heart, coronary arteries and peripheral blood vessels.”, Georgia Tech said on their website. The chip works in tandem with over 100 different elements on board the device and just 13 tiny cables which allow it to travel through the blood vessels and transmit data back to doctors.
“Our device will allow doctors to see the whole volume that is in front of them within a blood vessel,” said F. Levent Degertekin, a professor in the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology. “This will give cardiologists the equivalent of a flashlight so they can see blockages ahead of them in occluded arteries. It has the potential for reducing the amount of surgery that must be done to clear these vessels.”
While ultrasounds and other diagnostic tools are currently used to detect blockage and other problems with the heart, this device will allow doctors to see what exactly is blocking the arteries and vessels.
Degertekin and his research team contend that the micro device produces clinically useful imaging that will one day aid doctors in the diagnosis and discovery of heart problems among patients.
The next step towards approval is animal testing. After the animal trials they plan on licensing the technology to an existing medical device firm to conduct the trials necessary for the FDA.