Intragastric balloons (IGBs), by occupying the space in the stomach and prolonging satiety, is an established method to treat obesity and consequently improves its associated comorbidities, e.g. coronary heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. However, existing IGBs are often tethered with tubes for gas or liquid delivery or require endoscopic assistance for device delivery or removal, which are usually uncomfortable, costly, and may cause complications. We developed a novel tetherless, magnetically actuated capsule (EndoPil) which can deploy an IGB inside the stomach after being swallowed and being activated by an external magnet. The external magnet attracts a small magnet inside the EndoPil to open a valve, triggering the chemical reaction of citric acid and potassium bicarbonate to produce carbon dioxide gas, which inflates a biocompatible balloon (around 120 ml). A prototype, 13 mm in diameter and 35 mm in length, was developed. Simulations and bench-top tests were conducted to test the force capability of the magnetic actuation mechanism, the required force to activate the valve, and the repeatability of balloon inflation. Experiments on animal and human were successfully conducted to demonstrate the safety and feasibility of inflating a balloon inside the stomach by an external magnet. Find more in this video.

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