Friday, October 07, 2005

A 6-legged robot will watch your guts

If you're more frightened by a doctor putting a rubber tube down your throat (or worse), than a robotic bug wandering around your guts, I've good news for you.

Today, the only alternative to a traditional endoscopy is a camera capsule which, during its journey through the guts, takes and transmits images from the patient's intestine: unfortunately, the pill can't be controlled, making this instrument less efficient than the classic endoscope.

I'm proud to read that an italian lab, the CRIM (Center of Research In Microengineering), at the Sant' Anna School of Advanced Studies (Pisa), developed a small radio-controlled robot with a built-in micro camera, which crawls up and down the patient's guts, moving on his six tiny legs; when the device reaches a point of interest, the operator can fix it to the intestine walls thanks to a clamp which grabs the tissue (strong enough not to be pushed away by the muscle contractions), allowing an aimed analysis of the organ.

Read the abstract and the full article in PDF.

(ZDnet via New Scientist)

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