SoftSCREEN – A Shape-shifting Capsule Robot for GI Endoscopy
Available For: Licensing
Soft Shape-shifting Capsule Robot for Endoscopy based on Eversion Navigation (SoftSCREEN). A novel design for a capsule robotic system that propels itself through the gastrointestinal (GI) tract by means of a series of continuously everting elastic tracks (i.e. the tracks go from the inside of the capsule to the outside in a continuous manner) distributed all around its body.
The Technology and its Advantages
A proof-of-concept tethered SoftSCREEN system for colon screening is shown in Fig. 1. The main features of the system are: i) a worm gear powered by a motor encased by a rigid cylindrical body (light blue), ii) two inflatable doughnut shaped chambers (in white), iii) continuously everting elastic tracks, iv) pneumatic and hydraulic channels for inflation and cleaning and v) camera.
The motion is provided by rotating the worm gear which engages and moves the elastic tracks around the two inflatable chambers (in white) and along the length of the capsule.
SoftSCREEN differs from other track-based capsule designs because the inflatable chambers can be pressurised and inflated/deflated independently. This design feature allows the system to:
a) match the local lumen of the GI tract, ensuring constant traction of all the tracks.
b) self-align with the central axis of the targeted section, thus providing a stable and consistent position for the embedded camera for navigation and screening.
Both tethered and untethered designs of the system for screening the lower and upper GI tract and of the GI tract as a whole are currently under development.
The technology has the potential to be used for all standard endoscopic procedures related to the GI tract eg. (flexible) sigmoidoscopy, colonoscopy and esophagogastroduodenoscopy. It would also be suitable for use in capsule endoscopy procedures, typically used to screen the small intestine.
Intellectual Property Status
A PCT patent application number PCT/GB2019/052640 has been filed.
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