Like a "large gel-cap." A bit of an understatement... Measuring the body temperature from the inside. But only the core. (via BMedical)
The causes of heat stress, heat exhaustion and dehydration are somewhat understood, but identifying their symptoms in individuals can be extremely difficult which makes them very dangerous. Some of the most accurate measurements of core body temperature come from the ear or the rectum but this makes them inconvenient to monitor especially if people are continuously working in high heat. After record heat hit Australia, the Victoria County Fire Authority decided to test a new method for monitoring their firefighters in the line of duty.
50 firefighters swallowed a VitalSense Core Temperature Capsule made by Phillips. This device, also called the Jonah Capsule, can measure core body temperature faster, more effectively and accurately than using ear or rectal probes. The device can also measure heart rate, respiration, acceleration, body position and send out GPS. The information is sent to an Equivital (EQ02) LifeMonitor strapped to the chest of the person being monitored. This EQ02 monitor sends the data to a computer where it can be collected.
This information will help manage firefighter’s time by detecting exactly how fast body temperature is changing. Since different people can feel different stress levels, body temperatures can also vary along with stress. Measuring this can be difficult but since the capsule transmits readings every 4 seconds, rate of change of temperature can be observed and firefighters can be removed from dangerous areas and treated immediately.
Recent research submitted firefighters to temperatures ranging from -3 deg C to 124 deg C while the capsule transmits their vitals for 20 minutes. This research will serve to find peak danger points and can help firefighters schedule shifts better. More research will submit the capsule to temperatures of up to 600 deg C (1,100 deg F).
The pill is ingested with water and it takes 15 seconds before it starts transmitting vitals. The pill measures only 2 cm and weights 1.6 grams. It is made out of biocompatible polycarbonate and travels through the body’s GI tract without interrupting bodily functions. It usually stays in the body for 12-48 hrs and its batteries will last for 240 hours of continuous transmission (can be stored for up to one year).
This monitoring method has already passed one of its most extreme trials when Felix Baumgartner jumped to earth from 23 miles up last year.
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