MINI Bots for A wide Range of jobs

Technowize Magazine - - Coverstory -


The move­ments of en­do­scopic ro­bots can be con­trolled ei­ther by on­board ac­tu­a­tors, such as legs, pad­dles, pro­pel­lers or cil­ia­like ap­pendages, or by mag­netic fields gen­er­ated out­side the pa­tient’s body.

tis­sue dis­ten­sion

One way to push tis­sue out of the way—to clear a pas­sage or to gain a view—is to give the ro­bot pow­er­ful arms that can push. A less en­ergy-in­ten­sive method is to have the pa­tient drink wa­ter (right), which dis­tends the di­ges­tive tract enough to al­low a pro­pel­ler-driven cap­sule to ma­neu­ver.

To make minia­ture ro­bots that can op­er­ate in the di­ges­tive tract, en­gi­neers must find ways of wire­lessly con­trol­ling their lo­co­mo­tion and fine move­ments. And they must fit the re­quired tools, imag­ing sen­sors and power sup­ply into a cap­sule small enough for a pa­tient to swal­low. here are some ex­am­ples of the di­verse tasks en­gi­neers want tiny ro­bots to do and the ways they are try­ing to over­come the tech­ni­cal chal­lenges.

di­ag­nos Is/treat­ment

A cap­sule can carry a wide range of tools: a spec­tro­scopic cam­era that sees cells un­der­neath the sur­face layer of tis­sue; a clip for tak­ing a tis­sue biopsy; or a well that holds a dose of med­i­ca­tion.

On­board ac­tu­a­tors cap­sule with arms Mag­netic propul­sion swim­ming cap­sule dis­tended stom­ach

Ab­dom­i­nal wall colon spec­tro­scopic cam­era clip mech­a­nism drug-de­liv­ery well

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