Scientists Create Smart Pill That Vibrates to Make You Feel Full

Researchers at MIT have created a high-tech pill that begins to vibrate once it makes contact with gastric fluid in the user’s stomach in order to stimulate receptors in the stomach and create the sensation of fullness. VIBES — short for Vibrating Ingestible BioElectronic Stimulator — was recent unveiled in a study published in the Science Journal and is already being touted as the future of weight loss. Although it has yet to be tested on humans, trials on pigs have yielded very promising results. After about 30 minutes of VIBES activity, pigs consumed on average 40% less food in the next 30 minutes than they did without the smart pill. The revolutionary device works by activating stretch receptors in the stomach, simulating the presence of food. This, in turn, signals the hypothalamus to increase the levels of hormones that make us feel full. Researchers envision the pill being ingested on a relatively empty stomach 20-30 minutes before anticipated meals to trigger the desired sensation of fullness early in the meal. The pill, which is about the size of a typical vitamin, is powered by an encased battery and activated either by the gastric fluid dissolving a membrane around the pill or by an incorporated timer. After producing the desired effect, the pill exits the body with other solid waste. The good news is that it’s expected to have a cost in the cents to $1 range. Researcher say it may eventually be possible to implant the stimulator and eliminate the need for people to ingest it. The researchers now plan to explore ways to scale up the manufacturing of the capsules, which would enable clinical trials in humans.