Sonopill

Professor Marc Desmulliez and Dr Gerard Cummins from Heriot-Watt University have been nominated for a 2019 National Instruments Global Engineering Impact Award for their work in creating a swallowable electronic pill that has the potential for earlier detection of gut disease.

The pill was created as part of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) funded Sonopill programme along with researchers from Glasgow, Dundee and Leeds Universities.

The National Instruments Global Engineering Impact Awards celebrates the most innovative and impactful engineering projects from around the world. The winner of the award will be announced at a ceremony in Austin Texas in May.

The Sonopill programme, which was led by Professor Sandy Cochran of the University of Glasgow, was selected as a candidate for this award due to the humanitarian potential of this innovative research. The swallowable electronic pills will allow doctors to image below the gut wall using ultrasound, which is not possible with current technology. This will allow the detection of diseases such as colorectal cancer earlier than with current clinical methods.

Professor Marc Desmulliez, who led the Heriot-Watt group working on this technology said: “I am delighted that Sonopill was recognised by the engineering profession as being significant in terms of impact. We are looking forward to attending the finalist competition in the USA and will pursue further funding to bring this work closer to clinical trials.”