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.
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)
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 |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 8 )
Related News Stories -
3D Printed Bionic Chinese Skin
Designer skin for everyone!
Drug Creates Real Melanin Tan
I've used them all my life...
Medical Drones Hover Like Angels Near You
'The death-reversal equipment is on its way...'- Frederk Pohl, 1965.
Vaccine Blocks Heroin High
'You're biochemically incapable of getting off...' - William Gibson, 1985.
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.
Desktopography Makes Virtual Desktops Real
'Ender doodled on his desk, drawing contour maps of mountainous islands and then telling his desk to display them in three dimensions...'
LaWS Laser Can Take Out Rogue Drones
Looks like a weapon for the Runaway squad!
Moon Express Lunar Robot Mining: Shine On, Harvest Moon
'The bulldozer moved through the lunar strip mine... '
Liquid Body Armor For TALOS Exoskeleton
'... instantly became rigid all over when something struck it...'
Hyperloop One Video Shows It Works!
'Complete evacuation of the interior of the tubes [and] a wave that provides the new propulsive energy for the cars...'
Chairless Chair Exoskeleton By Sapetti
'Earth's scientists... devised rigid metallic clothing...'
Publishing Technologies In Science Fiction
Well, this should be enough references to start...
Russia Working On Military Exoskeletons
'Вы похожи на большую стальную гориллу...'
3D Printed Bionic Chinese Skin
Your skin is ready!
Flexup Tire Design Good For Tumblebugs
'Each spoke telescopes into five sections.'
3D Printed Graphene Aerogel - So Light!
'... light as cork and stronger than steel...'
Asteroid Deflection With DART
'This obelisk is one huge deflector mechanism...'
Translate One2One From IBM's Watson Your Communication Solution
'It then excretes into the mind of its carrier a telepathic matrix...'
News Now Philip K. Dick's Bailiwick
'A vast complex electronic organism... responsible to no one...'
Autonomous BADGER Robot Drilling Machine
'The compacted matter... makes a better tunnel lining than concrete, don't you think?'
TALOS Exoskeleton Development Proceeding
'Suited up, you look like a big steel gorilla...'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories