A pill camera is no news (watch the clip, now almost 10 years old) to the point that its use in medical diagnostic has got a name: capsule endoscopy.
What is new is that the NHS (medical service in the UK) now has adopted this diagnostic tool for screening people that have symptoms indicating a possible GI cancer.
11,000 people in the UK are going to swallow (several already have) a digital camera with a radio transmitter that takes two pictures every second and transmit them to a receiving station worn at the belt. If for just a moment you feel that it only takes 2 pictures per second, think twice. Over the 8 hours that it is in your gut it will take over 50,000 photos! The camera is producing so many photos that a specific software is required for their analyses. Once some “suspicious spots” are detected the related photos are presented to the doctor.
In these ten years of existence the “pill” camera has become smaller (11mm x 26mm, weight 4 grams) – see photo on the side- and much better, in addition to having become way cheaper. This “way cheaper” is relative since the cost of the pill camera is just one component: the current cost of the procedure is around 500$ (this includes the cost of he external equipment and the analyses of the data through a specific software).
It is foreseeable that the role of software, and specifically of image recognition, machine learning and AI for autonomous diagnoses (to be confirmed by a doctor), is expected to increase in the coming years, since these dignostic tools are generating a volume of data that goes beyond the capability of humans.
This will be in synch with the trend of increasing the role of proactive healthcare and the role of the home as the first diagnostic point.