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 -
Sleeep PRO Earplug For Maximum Rest
'Merton... placed the electrodes of the sleep-inducer on his forehead.' - Arthur C. Clarke, 1963.
You'll Regrow That Limb, One Day
'... forcing the energy transfer which allowed him to regrow his lost fingers.' - Frank Herbert, 1972.
First 3D Printed Human Corneas From Stem Cells
Just what we need! Lots of spare parts.
Nanorobots Roam Your Bloodstream, Cleaning It
Too bad they won't have lasers, though...
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.
Superstrong Multilayer Metal-Graphene Composite Material
Negligible increase in weight increased material strength by hundreds of times.
Deepfakes Imperil Democracy (George Orwell, Right Again)
'All history was a palimpsest, scraped clean and reinscribed exactly as often as was necessary.'
String Art Courtesy Of Robot Artist
The number of different ways to span a thread between a larger number of hooks is astronomical.
Still Wondering If You'd Work For A Robot Boss?
'This is all coming to you courtesy of the simstim unit wired into your deck, of course.'
World's First Autonomous Tram In Germany
What's it like for autonomous trams when they're turned off at night?
Sleeep PRO Earplug For Maximum Rest
'Merton... placed the electrodes of the sleep-inducer on his forehead.'
Inspired By Japan, Nap Pods For Hajj
It's always a good time for a nap.
Amphibio 3D Printed Gill Shirt
'... we can descend and live down there at one of those year-round aquatic resorts.'
How Do You Put An Asteroid Into Earth Orbit? Carefully!
'...she would have to be coaxed by another series of pats into a circular orbit.'
PD Aerospace Space Plane By 2023
'The sleek, tapered space shuttle lay immobile upon the private landing field...'
Foldimate Folds Your Clothes Perfectly
Look ma, my room is clean! I can hear you now.
Robots Help People Get Dressed, As Predicted In 1931
Yes, people of the future, robots will dress you.
International Space Station Leak Plugged - With Finger
'These tag-alongs search out stray leaks.'
Robot Snake Flies, Fights Fires
Just a prototype, but still amazing.
IPAL Chinese Robot Babysitter
'But Nanny is different...'
ZKZM-500 LASER Assault Rifle
'The Iranian reached back into the locker and got a pair of laserifles.'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories