Siemens and Olympus collaborate on magnetically guided capsule
8 June 2010
Siemens Healthcare and Olympus Medical Systems Corporation are
collaborating on the development of a a magnetically guided capsule
endoscope (MGCE) system.
This innovative technology is intended to allow stomach
examinations to be performed easily and comfortably by having the
patient simply swallow an endoscope in the form of a capsule. The
patient would then lie down in a magnetic guidance system.
It is envisioned that the physician, via a joystick, will then be
able to navigate the capsule easily to the areas of interest and
that the capsule will provide real-time high-resolution images on a
display in the examination room.
Traditionally capsule endoscopes are moved only by peristaltic
motion in the gastrointestinal tract. This often makes it difficult
to guide the capsule to a specific location, and examinations are
therefore limited to confined areas of the gastrointestinal tract,
such as the small intestine. There are many medical cases that
involve the gastrointestinal tract beyond the small intestine, and
capsules designed for use in the small intestine can not be used for
thorough examinations of the large internal cavity.
"In co-operation with our partner Olympus, we usher a new era in
endoscopy. We believe that the magnetically guided capsule endoscope
will enable quick examinations that are comfortable for the
patient. This system will be an excellent addition to current
methods in endoscopy, for instance within the scope of aftercare,"
said Hermann Requardt, CEO of Siemens Healthcare.
Haruhito Morishima, President, Olympus Medical Systems
Corporation, said, "As a leading manufacturer of endoscopes, Olympus
is continuously working to develop products that can be used safely
and with confidence. Our aim is to create endoscopes that minimize
stress on patients and that are user-friendly for physicians.
Capsule endoscopes have excellent potential from these perspectives.
We see this joint development project with Siemens as the
realization of one of our visions for the future of capsule
Currently a prototype has been produced. This will be used to
determine the safety, effectiveness and benefits of the new
The system consists of a prototype capsule endoscope, image
processing and guidance information system and guidance magnet:
The capsule endoscope will be approximately 31mm long and 11mm in
diameter. Camera systems mounted at both ends of the capsule are
intended to allow observation inside the stomach. Realtime
observation will be made possible by means of captured images, which
will be transmitted to an image processing system, and guidance
information on the posture of the capsule endoscope as it is
navigated by magnetic guidance.
It is conceptualized that the guidance magnet will generate
variable magnetic fields, making it possible to steer the capsule as
desired in real-time. The intensity of those magnetic fields is
between those of magnetic resonance scanners and the basic field of
During the examination, the patient’s stomach will be filled with
water to provide a field of vision for the capsule endoscope and
enable navigation. The patient will be positioned within the
guidance magnet, placing the stomach of the patient with the capsule
endoscope in the centre of the system.