Highly Flexible Endoscopic Robots: Design, Modelling, and Interaction Control

Lead Research Organisation: King's College London
Department Name: Informatics

Abstract

The project seeks to develop a new kind of robotic endoscope for use in endoscopy which will improve patient comfort and diagnostic accuracy. Traditional endoscopes consist of a passively flexible tube with a steerable camera at the distal end. These traditional instruments rely on the endoscopist manually pushing the scope through the patient's oesophagus or colon, causing significant discomfort. This discomfort is believed to be the cause of a large proportion of patients not attending regular bowel screenings, which are the best and simplest way of preventing bowel cancer. Creating a more comfortable endoscope could improve the rate of participation in screenings and thus reduce the incidence of bowel cancer.

Specifically, the project will initially focus on developing a soft, worm-like robot that is able to manoeuvre inside compliant environments, such as those found inside the human body. The device must be soft to minimise patient discomfort but must also be able to exert sufficient force for locomotion and camera orientation.

Modelling of the robot's interaction with the environment will be carried out in order to optimise the potential trade-off between the device's manoeuvrability and patient comfort level. This will involve examining the forces exerted by the robot and developing techniques to effectively control them.

Publications

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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/N509498/1 01/10/2016 30/09/2021
1805783 Studentship EP/N509498/1 01/10/2016 30/09/2019 Julius Bernth
 
Description We have developed a single-use, self crawling endoscope. This will make it easier, safer and less expensive for doctors to perform colonoscopies for screening colorectal cancer. Furthermore, the device's design allows it to be deployed in small clinics, rather than only in specialised units, typically only found in major hospitals. This has the potential to increase the availability of colon cancer screening and thus increase the ability to prevent colorectal cancer before it requires major treatment.
Exploitation Route Doctors would use this device to perform colonoscopy.
Sectors Healthcare