MEDICAL CAPSULE ROBOTS
Current commercial wireless capsule endoscopes are limited to passive transit in the gastrointestinal tract (the endoscopist cannot control the camera orientation or zoom on suspicious lesions). Also, current capsules are unable to interact with surrounding tissues to get biopsies or deliver treatments. These are fundamental barriers that prevent wireless capsule colonoscopy to become a standard practice. At the STORM Lab, we are developing enabilng technologies to make the dream of wireless capsule colonoscopy come true.
Some of the enabling technologies we are working on are:
In parallel to wireless capsule endoscopy, we are developing soft-tethered robots with the aim of replacing colonoscopy with a more patient-friendly procedure. This approach has the potential to prevent looping of the colonoscope (thus reducing the pain perceived by patients during colonoscopy) and to improve diagnostic outcomes (thanks to better mobility than a standard colonoscope), while still guaranteeing the diagnostic and therapeutic capabilities of a standard colonoscope. Within this research thrust we are developing a soft colonoscopy robotic platform
P. Valdastri, M. Simi, R. J. Webster III, “Advanced Technologies for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy”, Annual Review of Biomedical Engineering, 2012, Vol. 14, pp. 397-429. [ PDF ]
P. Slawinski, K. L. Obstein, P. Valdastri, “Emerging Issues and Future Developments in Capsule Endoscopy”, Techniques in Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, 2015, in press, available on line. [ PDF]