Engineers have shown it is technically possible to guide a tiny robotic capsule inside the colon to take micro-ultrasound images.
Known as a Sonopill, the device could one day replace the need for patients to undergo an endoscopic examination, where a semi-rigid scope is passed into the bowel – an invasive procedure that can be painful.
Micro-ultrasound images also have the advantage of being better able to identify some types of cell change associated with cancer.
The Sonopill is the culmination of a decade of research by an international consortium of engineers and scientists. The results of their feasibility study are published today in the journal Science Robotics.
“The technology has the potential to change the way doctors conduct examinations of the gastrointestinal tract.”
The consortium has developed a technique called intelligent magnetic manipulation. Based on the principle that magnets can attract and repel one another, a series of magnets on a robotic arm that passes over the patient interacts with a magnet inside the capsule, gently manoeuvring it through the colon.
The magnetic forces used are harmless and can pass through human tissue, doing away with the need for a physical connection between the robotic arm and the capsule.
An artificial intelligence system (AI) ensures the smooth capsule can position itself correctly against the gut wall to get the best quality micro-ultrasound images. The feasibility study also showed should the capsule get dislodged, the AI system can navigate it back to the required location.
Professor Pietro Valdastri, who holds the Chair in Robotics and Autonomous Systems in Leeds’ School of Electronic and Electrical Engineering and was senior author of the paper, said: “The technology has the potential to change the way doctors conduct examinations of the gastrointestinal tract.
“Previous studies showed that micro-ultrasound was able to capture high-resolution images and visualise small lesions in the superficial layers of the gut, providing valuable information about the early signs of disease.
“With this study, we show that intelligent magnetic manipulation is an effective technique to guide a micro-ultrasound capsule to perform targeted imaging deep inside the human body.
“The platform is able to localise the position of the Sonopill at any time and adjust the external driving magnet to perform a diagnostic scan while maintaining a high quality ultrasound signal. This discovery has the potential to enable painless diagnosis via a micro-ultrasound pill in the entire gastrointestinal tract.”
Sandy Cochran, Professor of Ultrasound Materials and Systems at the University of Glasgow and lead researcher, said: “We’re really excited by the results of this feasibility study. With an increasing demand for endoscopies, it is more important than ever to be able to deliver a precise, targeted, and cost-effective treatment that is comfortable for patients.
Today, we are one step closer to delivering that.
“We hope that in the near future, the Sonopill will be available to all patients as part of regular medical check-ups, effectively catching serious diseases at an early stage and monitoring the health of everyone’s digestive system.”
The Sonopill is a small capsule – with a diameter of 21mm and length of 39mm, which the engineers say can be scaled down. The capsule houses a micro ultrasound transducer, an LED light, camera and magnet.
A very small flexible cable is tethered to the capsule which also passes into the body via the rectum and sends ultrasound images back to a computer in the examination room.
The feasibility tests were conducted on laboratory models and in animal studies involving pigs.
Diseases of the gastrointestinal tract account for approximately 8 million deaths a year across the world, including some bowel cancers which are linked with high mortality.
The Latest on: Robotic capsule
via Google News
The Latest on: Robotic capsule
- Space station modules ready for missionson January 18, 2021 at 11:36 pm
Space station modules ready for missions. People's Daily Online (Chinadaily.com.cn) 09:40, January 18, 2021. Sources say components to be shipped to Hainan for launch in coming mo ...
- AnX Robotica Announces CPT Code For Magnetic Controlled Capsule Endoscopyon January 18, 2021 at 4:11 pm
The CPT Code establishes a standard reimbursement pathway for this new procedure which is performed with the company’s NaviCam System ...
- RIP: Mars digger bites the dust after 2 years on red planeton January 15, 2021 at 3:41 am
NASA declared the Mars digger dead Thursday after failing to burrow deep into the red planet to take its temperature.
- CRS-21 cargo Dragon splashes down off the Florida coaston January 13, 2021 at 6:20 pm
SpaceX’s CRS-21 cargo Dragon spacecraft has returned to Earth, splashing down in the Gulf of Mexico just off the coast of Tampa, Florida.
- French wine, live rodents among 2 tons of cargo returned from space stationon January 13, 2021 at 4:00 pm
SpaceX’s Cargo Dragon spacecraft departs the International Space Station Tuesday. Credit: NASA TV/Spaceflight Now. A SpaceX Cargo Dragon capsule parachuted to an on-target splas ...
- Watch Now: How a robot is helping seniors overcome loneliness, and more of today's top videoson January 12, 2021 at 6:09 pm
See how a robot is helping senior citizens overcome their loneliness, how a vet at a San Diego wildlife center used rubber bands to save an owl's life, who could ...
- SpaceX’s first Cargo Dragon 2 recovery delayed by Atlantic Ocean weatheron January 12, 2021 at 2:36 pm
The first undocking, orbital reentry, and splashdown of SpaceX’s upgraded Dragon 2 cargo spacecraft was aborted by NASA ground controllers minutes before the process was scheduled to begin. According ...
- SpaceX capsule to splash down from space just west of Tampaon January 12, 2021 at 10:26 am
The SpaceX cargo Dragon 2 spacecraft was expected to undock from the International Space Station (ISS) Monday morning at 10 a.m. and then splash down off the waters of Daytona Beach at 9 p.m. Monday.
- French wine, vines headed home after year in spaceon January 12, 2021 at 9:58 am
French wine and vines are headed back to Earth after a year aboard the International Space Station. SpaceX's Dragon cargo capsule undocked Tuesday with 12 bottles of Bordeaux wine and ...
- Doraemon Pals Around With Gucci Models in Collaborative Lookbookon January 12, 2021 at 8:52 am
Doraemon is the star of the show, as the Japanese animated icon lounges, laughs and indulges alongside a collective of stylish Gucci models draped in the collaborative garments and toting ...
via Bing News