In 1988 the idea of measuring bile in the stomach and in the oesophagus via optical fibers was conceived and patented in collaboration with physicians from the University of Florence. The working principle is based on the spectrophotometric properties of the bile which contains some pigments with definite absorption properties. Bilirubin is the main pigment and it is characterized by an absorption peak in the blue region: therefore it is possible to detect optically the bile in the stomach by optically detecting bilirubin. The possibility of measuring bile reflux directly measuring the presence of bile represented a winning aspect in comparison with the traditional techniques (pH-metry, cholescintigraphy, bile acid assessment in aspirates); on the contrary the new technique had to overcome the traditional 'cultural' barriers constituted by the conservative attitude of clinicians concerning any innovative technology. The realization of the first laboratory prototype demonstrates the feasibility and validity of the proposed optical method. Then many years were necessary to arrive at the definitive and marketable product. The history of Bilitec 2000 is described, with the purpose to stress how a laboratory prototype is still very far from the market.