Doctors often analyze a patient’s intestinal gases to test for colon cancer, irritable bowel syndrome, or other stomach diseases — but they have to do it indirectly (through breath or fecal analyses). Now, researchers think they’ve found a better way to directly examine your gut’s secretions — through a swallow-able, sensory capsule.

According to their study, which was published in Trends in Biotechnology, the researchers state this “high-tech” pill could better detect the wide variety of interesting gases in your body. It would be made of a built-in gas sensor, a microprocessor and a wireless high-frequency transmitter, all of which would work to better understand how the bacteria that thrive in our gut create these gases, and how they may be a sign of our health.

“We know gut microorganisms produce gases as a by-product of their metabolism, but we understand very little about how that affects our health,” Kourosh Kalantar-zadeh, an author of the study and a professor at RMIT University, said in the press release. “Being able to accurately measure intestinal gases could accelerate our knowledge about how specific gut microorganisms contribute to gastrointestinal disorders and food intake efficiency, enabling the development of new diagnostic techniques and treatments.”

These gut bacteria ferment food in your stomach and release gases like carbon dioxide, hydrogen, and methane, according to the researchers. The exact types of gases — and their concentrations — are all signaling factors of your health and potential gastrointestinal disorders. That’s why a sensory capsule, which could keep track of changes happening in your stomach, could help identify disorders sooner versus later.

“If some organic compound like butyrate goes up, that means something is happening to the wall of the stomach,” Kalantar-zadeh told TIME, “and the thing that is happening is generally not good, has to be detected and should be addressed very quickly.” In addition, he added that such a sensor may help in testing what foods are actually digesting properly and impacting the body: “[T]his tells us if the food that we take transforms into energy efficiently in our body or not. That can actually have a very big impact on all the controversies about food.”

The pill will still take some time to develop, however, because currently it’s more of a theory than an actual device (it hasn’t yet been tested in humans). But it could certainly be an interesting way for us to get a little closer to what’s going on in our stomachs.

Source: Zhen Ou J, Yao C, Rotbart A, Muir J, Gibson P, Kalantar-zadeh K. “Human intestinal gas measurement systems: in vitro fermentation and gas capsules.” Trends in Biotechnology, 2015.