Man Swallows Pill Containing Wireless Camera Live on Stage, Streams Inside of Body for Audience

What if we could peer inside the human body wirelessly without having to resort to endoscopy, a procedure that requires anesthedia and careful technique to minimize complications?

Thanks to a startup called Pillbot, we might soon have a high tech alternative.

During a fascinating TED talk — yes those are still a thing, occasionally — cofounder and engineer Alex Luebke showed off the company's latest invention, a tiny swallowable pill that gives physicians a live feed of the inside of the human body.

Luebke was confident enough in his startup's invention that he swallowed one of these pills live on stage, making for a unique demonstration of a potentially game-changing technology.

This pill was then remotely controlled — with a PlayStation 5 controller no less — by Mayo Clinic professor of medicine and Pillbot co-founder Vivek Kumbhari, giving audiences a fascinating live feed of the inside of Luebke's esophagus and stomach.

"Since the beginning of the modern era, the only way to really look inside was through rudimentary surgeries," Luebke explained during the presentation, which TED shared on YouTube this week. "Over the past 150 years or so, we've had great technologies that allow us to look from the outside, like X-rays and MRIs. But what I propose and what I'd like us to explore today is looking at micro-robotics inside the human body."

In a brief demo, before Luebke swallowed the pill, Kumbhari showed off the tiny device's ability to swim around in a small tank of water thanks to three pump jet thrusters that can squirt water in six different directions.

After several iterations, Luebke explained that Pillbot reduced the size of its pill from a monstrous prototype roughly the size of a football — "not quite swallowable" — down to "the size of a small multivitamin capsule."

By having a patient swallow the pill, Kumbhari argued that he's able to "get very similar views as I would if I'd used a conventional endoscope."

"Now, fortunately for Alex, on this brief review, everything is looking normal here," he said after getting a good look at Luebke's stomach lining. "Though if there were a problem, being able to show and discuss with Alex in real-time."

Fortunately, the pair preempted some seemingly common questions.

"So now that we're done here, PillBot will take its natural course through and out of the body," Kumbhari said. "And fortunately for Alex, he'll have no awareness of this, and he won't have to retrieve this capsule."

"That was yummy," Luebke later replied. "And no, you don't feel anything when the robot moves around inside you."

Unsurprisingly, the two cofounders now want to leverage the power of AI to give the tiny pills autonomous control and the ability to create "maps of the entire interior surface of the stomach," according to Luebke.

More on pill bots: This "Pill" Sprouts Needles to Inject Medicine Inside Your Body