/Development and validation of a timed fixation method for miniature ingestible electronic pills

Development and validation of a timed fixation method for miniature ingestible electronic pills

Master projects/internships - Leuven | More than two weeks ago

The future health devices will be swallowed! Develop & validate novel technologies that will allow these devices to stay fixed in the human gastrointestinal system for a specific period of time.

The last decade has seen a tremendous growth in wearable connected health devices. While wearables are indeed becoming increasingly more valuable both for the consumer as well as for the medical market, they still have a few drawbacks. Wearables are particularly good at providing information about the cardio-vascular system (heart, respiration) and to a certain degree also the peripheral and central nervous system, but cannot really provide any meaningful information about the gastro-intestinal system. This is obviously a very important system and gastro-intestinal diseases affect a large percentage of the population. To address this unmet need, scientists across the world started pointing their attention to miniature small electronic pills. Most of the research activity started in the domain of wireless endoscopic camera-pills, but more recently researchers started investigating bio-chemical sensing and drug delivery capabilities as well. One major issue with such ingestible electronic pills, is the fact that they pass through the whole GI system uncontrolled. For a number of diagnostic and therapeutic applications, it would be much more interesting if the devices can stay in a certain region for at least 1 or 2 full digestive cycles.


In this master’s thesis topic, the student will develop and validate, building on and extending existing conceptual designs, methods that can be integrated into small miniature electronic pill-shaped devices that will allow the pill to remain in place during at least 24h. It will be important to develop a technology that is safe and won’t increase the risk of blockage while the device remains in place. At the same time, the device should self-attach after a certain amount of time after which it can leave the body through natural means.  The student will review the literature analysis and conceptual designs that have been done already and build on top of this to design a proof-of-concept system and manufacture a prototype system using rapid prototype techniques (like 3D-printing). The student will validate the developed prototype and concept in an in-vitro test setup.


This topic will require a background in mechanical engineeringThe work will consist of conceptual design, supplier identification, rapid prototyping, construction of a validation setup, and validation of the concepts in the lab.


Type of project: Internship, Thesis, Combination of internship and thesis


Duration: 6-9 months (full-time)

Required degree: Master of Science, Master of Engineering Science, Master of Engineering Technology

Required background: Mechanical Engineering, Electromechanical engineering

Supervising scientist(s): For further information or for application, please contact: Tom Torfs (Tom.Torfs@imec.be)

Imec allowance will be provided for students studying at a non-Belgian university.