Spider Pill: Wireless Endoscopic Capsule Robot

A free-roaming wireless endoscopic capsule robot has been tested successfully in a pig's intestine. This crawling spider pill has eight legs and occupies just 2.6 cm3 of total volume. The robot can be fully controlled wirelessly by an operator, who guides the device through the intestinal tract based on images obtained from the robot's camera. The intent is to create a device usable for colonoscopy (or similar procedures) on a human being.


(The Spider Pill - an endoscopic capsule robot)

This wireless endoscopic capsule robot is distinguished from earlier "pill cameras" by the fact that the pill cams cannot be guided externally. The operator cannot stop the pill or turn it to take pictures of particular sites of interest; these pill cams rely on peristalsis - muscle contractions that ordinarily move food along during digestion - to propel themselves.


(Endoscopic capsule robot CAD drawing - internal components)

The spider pill capsule robot is just 11.1 mm in diameter and 27 mm long; it matches the dimensions of the FDA-approved camera pills almost exactly. It has 72 parts. The capsule has a maximum speed of 50 mm per minute, which is the authors claim is sufficient to perform an entire colonoscopy in the same time frame as traditional colonoscopy (I know some gastroenterologists who would disagree). The capsule can climb in any direction, including vertically against gravity.

This brief BBC video provides an interview with one of the project members, as well as CAD views of the moving endoscopic camera robot.


(BBC video interview on the wireless endoscopic capsule robot)

Science fiction fans may regard this robot as being similar to the Proteus, the miniaturized ship from the 1966 movie Fantastic Voyage. I was thinking in particular of the ship at one of the intermediate phases of miniaturization; the authors describe this wireless endoscopic capsule robot as being in the "meso-scale" for a device. However, I could only find a picture of the fully reduced Proteus (below).


(Proteus from Fantastic Voyage)

Update: Thanks to readers, here's an early "science-fictional" view of this idea. In Test Pilot, an episode of The Jetson's first broadcast on December 30, 1962, George Jetson goes in for a physical. The doctor uses a special capsule called a "Peek-a-Boo Prober".


(Peek-a-Boo Prober from Jetson's Test Pilot episode)

Here's a close-up:


(Close-up of the Peek-a-Boo Prober from Jetson's Test Pilot episode)

The doctor uses a special Peek-a-Boo Prober launcher to start it on its journey through the patient. Once inside the doctor uses a voice-control interface to instruct the Prober. Take a look at an internal video provided by the Prober to the doctor.


(Peek-a-Boo Prober in stomach episode)

End update.

From An endoscopic capsule robot: a meso-scale engineering case study by Claudio Quaglia, Elisa Buselli, Robert J Webster III, Pietro Valdastri, Arianna Menciassi and Paolo Dario; via Medgadget.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 10/14/2009)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 8 )

Related News Stories - (" Medical ")

Targeted Neuroplasticity Training For 'Downloading Skills'
'I know kung-fu.'

Will The FDA Approve This Antiaging Drug?
'So what we're looking for now is... an anti-agathic, an anti-death drug.' - James Blish, 1951.

EVE Artificial Womb For Lambs (For Now)
'In the crimson darkness, stewing warm on their cushion of peritoneum and gorged with blood-surrogate and hormones...' - Aldous Huxley, 1932.

Bees Royal Jelly Helps Wounds Heal Faster
'An alien drug... used by an insect race.' - Clifford Simak, 1961.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

Dubai Scorpion Police Hoverbike Ready To Pull Young Kirk Over
'Is there a problem, officer?'

HEXA Robotic Help For Plants
Then some unknown race had chanced upon the dreamers and decided to "help them out."

Korean Tesla Model S Video 'Excelsior' Is Indeed Our Motto
'Improving man by bringing him close to Nature, while they combine the sensations of coasting with the interest of seeing the country well...'

DIY Robot Shoots You In The Face
'...there were automatic guns that fired ligamine darts.'

A Bayesian Approach to Safe Imitation Learning For AIs and Robots
Um, how about that pension for the humans who serve as the models for robot behavior?

Qoobo Headless Robotic Therapy Cat Was Anne McCaffrey's Idea
'...used as surrogates in intense dependency cases.'

Autonomous Cars Talk To Each Other At MCity
'My cars talk to one another.'

PUFFER Robots - From Philip K DIck's Second Variety?
'Across the ground something small and metallic came, flashing in the dull sunlight of midday.'

Russian Space Garden
'We saw the gardens, flooded with artificial sunlight...'

Targeted Neuroplasticity Training For 'Downloading Skills'
'I know kung-fu.'

U of M's MCity To Feature Asimov's Automatobuses
Should you turn autonomous buses off?

Crazyflie Drone Swarm Technology
'...Programmed to hang in space in a hexagonal grid pattern.'

Our GodBot, Who Art In Cyberspace
Vaal hungers! We must serve him.

easyJet Short-Haul Electric Jets
Have a little faith, will you? They're working on it.

Meet Assist-e Honda's Self-Balancing Motorcycle
'He had never ridden any motorized device that lacked onboard steering and balance systems...'

Kalashnikov's One-Seater Hovercraft
Not for windy days.

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.