Feel the Pressure: Sensing Motion in the Digestive Tract

Feel the Pressure: Sensing Motion in the Digestive Tract

Neil Jia, David Mankus, Qiyun Gao, Michelle Zong, Abigail Lytton-Jean, Carlo Giovanni Traverso 

Koch Institute at MIT, MIT Department of Mechanical Engineering

The Traverso Lab is building a flexible sensor system that uses electrical current to measure mechanical pressure in the gastrointestinal tract. Such a device could assess disease-associated dysfunction in the contracting muscles that move and break down food during digestion.

This false-color image shows the microscopic structure of their chosen foam-like material. Researchers are looking for just the right amount of stiffness, conductivity, and adhesion…and above all, consistency. With nearly 100 sensors working in tandem across the system, it is essential that every measurement be comparable, accurate, and precise.

purple-shadowed layers of mesh in red, orange, and yellow with decreasing brightness


Neil Jia shares the story behind his winning image.