03/07/2014 06:14 EST | Updated 05/07/2014 05:59 EDT

No indigestion: Capsule could make medical diagnoses in small intestine easier

SASKATOON - A capsule being developed by engineering students at the University of Saskatchewan could make diagnosing medical problems in the small intestine easier.

The students are working on an electronic pill the size of a large vitamin supplement and equipped with a camera, a battery, a light and a transmitter.

A patient would swallow the capsule, which would send up to 50,000 images to a smartphone a doctor could then scan for any abnormalities.

Engineering Prof. Khan Wahid (con wah-HEED') says the pill would be easier on patients than endoscopies and biopsies.

A prototype has been designed and students are working to make the capsule small enough to be ingested.

The Saskatoon university has been granted almost $100,000 by the federal government to help pay for the project.

Wahid said the capsule would be convenient because no tests in a hospital would be required.

"You have to do some preparations, you swallow the capsule, then you just do your normal work for 24 hours. After that you go back to the hospital and return the data logger and the capsule will automatically dispose by itself," Wahid explained Friday.

Two tests have already been done on animals.