Robotic Capsule Endoscope for GI Tract Inspection
The capsule endoscope (CE) has revolutionised gastrointestinal (GI) tract inspection. Traditional endoscopy requires a camera on the end of a cable to be inserted into the patient, with understandable anxiety prior to the procedure, additional risk during the procedure, and considerable discomfort both during and after the procedure. In contrast, CEs are pill-like miniature cameras, taken orally like any pill medication in an easy and angst-free manner, prior to travelling through the body and imaging the GI tract with minimal discomfort. Using these images, clinicians can make routine diagnoses of a range of diseases, including bowel cancer, Crohn’s Disease and ulcerative colitis, to name a few.
However, CEs travel through the digestive system in a passive manner. This limits the utility of the device in terms of speed, positioning and overall control. Therefore, a capsule endoscope capable of locomotion has been developed by our researchers. Using impact forces, friction in the GI tract is overcome and allows control over speed and positioning when inspecting the GI tract. Further, the underlying locomotion technology is likely applicable for delivery of other cargo, such as other miniaturised medical devices or drugs.