Robot Swarm Performs Colonoscopy And Biopsy

I have to say I have my doubts about this procedure as an alternative to colonoscopy.


(Robot swarm microgrippers perform colonoscopy)

At Johns Hopkins University, in Baltimore, David Gracias and his colleagues have developed microgrippers—star-shaped devices that can measure less than 500 micrometers from tip to tip. The grippers can be made of materials that respond to environmental factors such as temperature, pH, and even enzymes. A temperature-sensitive gripper’s arms will close when exposed to the body’s heat. If placed well, the arms will close around tissue, performing a miniature biopsy.

Such grippers might provide a less invasive way to screen for colon cancer in patients who suffer from chronic inflammatory bowel diseases. Today, Gracias says, such screening can involve taking dozens of samples with forceps, in an effort to get good statistical coverage of the interior surface of the colon. Instead, a doctor could insert hundreds or thousands of microgrippers into the colon through a tube and then retrieve them using a magnet or, later, by sifting through the patient’s stool.

Based on tests in live pigs, Gracias’s team estimates that about one-third of the grippers capture tissue. Others may come up empty-handed because they have the wrong orientation or close before reaching anything. But he says this approach, which minimizes the cost and maximizes the ease of manufacturing, could be powerful.

“The typical idea has been that you have one device that you guide precisely [to perform a] surgical procedure,” Gracias says. His strategy borrows a page from the imperfect world of biology: “If you have a large number of not-perfect devices, you may be able to achieve the same functionality as one perfect one.”

These microgrippers bear an uncomfortable resemblance to the cookie-cutters from Neal Stephenson's 1995 novel The Diamond Age.

Microscopic invaders were more of the threat nowadays. Just to name one example, there was ... the Seven Minute Special, a tiny aerodynamic capsule that burst open on impact and released a thousand or so corpuscle-sized bodies, known colloquially as cookie-cutters, into the victim's bloodstream. It took about seven minutes ... for the cookie cutters to be randomly distributed throughout the victim's organs and limbs.

A cookie-cutter was shaped like an aspirin tablet ... two tiny centrifuges. Detonation dissolved the bonds holding the centrifuges together so that each of a thousand or so ballisticules suddenly flew outward...
(Read more about cookie-cutters)

If long-time Technovelgy readers think that this story seems familiar, you're right; I wrote about Microgrippers Grab, Cut Tissue Internally in 2008. Technovelgy readers always have one foot in the future!

Via IEEE Spectrum.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 5/29/2015)

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 ( 0 )

Related News Stories - (" Medical ")

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...

MIT Ampli Blocks Build Biomedical Devices
Damn it Spock, I'm a doctor not an engineer!

 

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

Ontario Starts Guaranteed Minimum Income
'Earned by just being born.'

Is There Life In Outer Space? Will We Recognize It?
'The antennae of the Life Detector atop the OP swept back and forth...'

Space Traumapod For Surgery In Spacecraft
' It was a ... coffin, form-fitted to Nessus himself...'

Tesla Augmented Reality Hypercard
'The hypercard is an avatar of sorts.'

A Space Ship On My Back
''Darn clever, these suits,' he murmured.'

Biomind AI Doctor Mops Floor With Human Doctors
'My aim was just not to lose by too much.' - Human Physician participant.

Fuli Bad Dog Robot Is 'Auspicious Raccoon Dog' Bot
Bad dog, Fuli. Bad dog.

Las Vegas Humans Ready To Strike Over Robots
'A worker replaced by a nubot... had to be compensated.'

You'll Regrow That Limb, One Day
'... forcing the energy transfer which allowed him to regrow his lost fingers.'

Elon Musk Seeks To Create 1941 Heinlein Speedster
'The car surged and lifted, clearing its top by a negligible margin.'

Somnox Sleep Robot - Your Sleepytime Cuddlebot
Science fiction authors are serious about sleep, too.

Real-Life Macau or Ghost In The Shell
Art imitates life imitates art.

Has Climate Change Already Been Solved By Aliens?
'I had explained," said Nessus, "that our civilisation was dying in its own waste heat.'

First 3D Printed Human Corneas From Stem Cells
Just what we need! Lots of spare parts.

VirtualHome: Teaching Robots To Do Chores Around The House
'Just what did I want Flexible Frank to do? - any work a human being does around a house.'

Messaging Extraterrestrial Intelligence (METI) Workshop
SF writers have thought about this since the 19th century.

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.