Swallows New Camera to Get 16 Pictures of Stomach (Jul, 1934)

Swallows New Camera to Get 16 Pictures of Stomach

A CAMERA so small that it can be swallowed without discomfort takes sixteen pictures of the inside of the stomach.

A two inch long metal cylinder contains the camera, a roll of film, and a tiny flash bulb capable of 20,000 candle-power illumination. The control plunger runs through a two-foot rubber tube attached to the cylinder.

This unusual medical camera was developed at the Henckenbach clinic of the University of Vienna by Dr. O. Porges and other physicians. It is expected that pictures taken with it will show the first stages of gastritis, cancer, and other disorders which often cannot be seen on X-ray plates until too late.

An air pump forces the walls of the stomach away from the sixteen tiny lenses when a picture is snapped.

Each of the sixteen “shots” are developed into circular pictures two inches in diameter which taken together give a complete i representation of the inside of a patient’s stomach.

7 comments
  1. akb427 says: August 12, 20081:24 am

    I fail to understand how a 2″ steel cylinder could be swallowed “without discomfort”, especially with a control plunger running back up the throat, and an air pump pressurizing the stomach. Maybe the swallowing is comfortable compared to the air pump? Perhaps their initial patient was a sword swallower?

  2. Erica says: August 12, 20087:52 am

    Wow… I imagine the air pump forcing the walls of the stomach away from the lenses would hurt as much as swallowing the camera! AND you have to get it back out after the pictures are taken…

    Nevertheless, amazing technology for 1934. It would be fascinating to see any pictures taken with this, or to learn whether it managed to catch any stomach disorders.

  3. John M. Hanna says: August 12, 200812:58 pm

    It could be worse. The doctor might want to insert it in “the other end”.

  4. Eliyahu says: August 12, 20083:03 pm

    The tiny negatives were enlarged to 2 inches… That wasn’t the size of the tube or camera. More recently, an Israeli inventor developed a “pill cam” which can be swallowed, permitting photographs of the entire GI system from top to bottom before being passed by the patient. It’s gradually replacing the fiberoptic tube used for endoscopies.

  5. james says: August 13, 20081:27 am

    I’ll supose the ‘pill cam’ would be disposable… Yikes.

  6. Anne says: August 13, 200810:53 am

    “Each of the sixteen “shots” are developed into circular pictures two inches in diameter which taken together give a complete representation of the inside of a patient’s stomach.”

    How do they know it’s complete? The thing doesn’t look like it has much in the way of actual directional control nor any way to see what you’re taking a picture of either.

  7. Peter says: September 16, 20085:44 am

    This camera takes 16 pictures using 16 lenses pointing in all directions so no directional control is needed. You could assemble these pictures to one compound picture on the inside or outside of a ball.

    The camera is not 2″ diameter but 2″ long. From the picture it looks like 1/2″ diameter, so swallowing this would not be so hard (if you can control the gag reflex). It is not more than todays endoscopes. You could also use a local anaesthetic (Lidocaine) in the mouth.

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