14/01/2013 06:48 GMT | Updated 16/03/2013 05:12 GMT

Pill-Sized Camera Uses 3D To Look For Cancer Inside Your Stomach

A camera the size of a pill has been developed to help doctors diagnose cancer.

The tiny, clear, plastic device is able to create 3D pictures of the inside of your stomach.

Devolved at Massachusetts General Hospital, the camera is attached to a thin wire which allows doctors to move it up and down inside your body.

As a result, it is possible to use it to actively search for problems - including Barrett's oesophagus, which can lead to cancer - and use it to take full 3D images using optical frequency domain imaging, which uses infrared light.

Nature explains:

"The researchers first generate a beam of light, and then split it into two with mirrors. One beam is sent into a detector where it serves as a reference; the other is sent through the tether, into the pill, where it is directed into the tissue."

The device could remove the need for traditional endoscopies, which usually require patients to be under sedation.

"A lot of people have reflux but don't feel the pain of heartburn," said MGH pathologist Gary Tearney, according to Nature. "[Our device] really opens up screening to many more people."

The device will now be developed to help look for more illnesses and ailments.