While pill sized capsule endoscopes are increasingly used as wireless imaging devices for diagnosing diseases in the Gl tract, they are limited to passive imaging or sensing applications only. Therefore, many researchers have been proposing active robotic capsule endoscopes that can be position controlled to enable active imaging ofthe Gl tract and enable new medical functions. However, such robotic capsules are not available yet for any clinical or personal use yet due to challenges in their actuation, locomotion, powering, and safety. Therefore, this proposal aims to propose solutions against these challenges by designing and manufacturing new pill sized soft capsule robots with remote actuation and control for clinical and potentially personal use. We hypothesize that combining soft robotics with magnetically actuated robotic capsule endoscopes would enable safe, minimally invasive, multi-functional, precisely controlled, and pill sized capsule robots with new advanced diagnostic and therapeutic functions in stomach and other regions ofthe Gl tract. Safety and comfort ofthe proposed robot design come from its softness, small size, and remote magnetic actuation method.
Three specific aims will be addressed during the three-year duration ofthis project. First, new soft endoscopic capsule robot prototypes with remote magnetic actuation, 3-D localization, and position control capabilities will be developed. Next, four new advanced diagnostic and therapeutic functions (active imaging, in situ tissue compliance mapping, semi-implantable drug delivery, and active real-time drug delivery) integrated to the soft capsule endoscope robot prototypes will be developed. Finally, safety and operation ofthe developed soft endoscopic capsule robot prototypes will be tested in vitro inside fresh porcine stomach. Success on these three aims will open up the door for new soft robotic capsule endoscopes for their clinical or potentially personal use where they would coexist inside patients for improving their quality of life and health-care assistance.
This proposal is relevant to the NIH NINR program on development of robotic applications to manage and eliminate symptoms caused by illness, enhance end-of-life and palliative care, and improve the patient quality of life and health-care assistance where medical functionality, safety, and comfort are key factors.