MADISON, Wis. — About three in 10 people in Wisconsin are obese according to the state Department of Health Services. Almost 70 percent of people in the state are either overweight or obese.

Some people turn to surgery to help them manage the weight. Researchers at the University of Wisconsin Madison may have come up with a cheaper, less invasive solution.

Engineers have made a small device that would attach to the lining of a person’s stomach and use electricity to stimulate the nerves that tell your brain it’s full when you eat. As a stomach moves it sends that signal and ideally makes you feel full with eating far less.

“We can reduce the food intake for a patient,” said Xudong Wang a UW-Madison professor of materials science and engineering.

The device doesn’t have any batteries, it uses the motion your body already makes to send a signal in the way your body already does.

“Our approach is to simulate this natural process to provide additional or helpful electrical pulses more or less like your body does naturally,” Wang said.

Wang’s research showed rats losing almost 40 percent of their body weight. Now they will move to larger animals and hopefully after that humans. 

“I think there is a huge potential for this device,” Wang said.

The device could be a cheaper, less invasive operation than gastric bypass. Any affects of the device are reversible if it is removed. In lab testing rats returned to their normal size after 12 weeks.