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Lumen in obscuris: The Winding Road of Modern Endoscopy

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The historical process leading to the recent invention of endoscopic capsules that are swallowed and travel through the alimentary canal, or to virtual voyages inside the human body one of the last amazing digital technologies has been long and winding. This essay seeks to retrace some steps of that process, since the second half of the 18th century. Numerous medical practitioners, technicians, and instrument makers aimed to explore inner body parts and interspaces by means of the sense of sight. In the mid-19th century Endoscope was called the instrument that would allow to bring light into unknown recesses and visualize them; urethra and bladder were the organs at first investigated, but soon the medical gaze proceeded to penetrate the esophagus and the stomach, not without several obstacles to be overcome.


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