Versatile Endoscopic Capsule for gastrointestinal TumOr Recognition and therapy
The VECTOR project aims at investigating and developing a miniaturised robotic pill for advanced diagnostics and therapy in the human digestive tract. The main technological objective of the VECTOR project is to develop a wireless, robotic, real time mobile pill which would allow capsule endoscopy to be performed in a totally controlled manner, giving the doctor the ability to steer the capsule towards interesting pathological areas combined with a real time visual feedback.
A promising approach to wireless capsule endoscopy that takes advantage of active magnetic locomotion in the gastrointestinal tract combined with an accurate driving by an anthropomorphic robotic arm was developed by the surgical robotics group within the research field. The platform combines the benefits of permanent magnets in terms of magnetic field strength together with the accurate and reliable control of the magnet through a robotic arm, demonstrating to be a reliable solution to move and steer a capsule for diagnostic endoscopy. In order to actively monitor the endoscopic capsule and to efficiently perform diagnostic medical procedures, feedback control based on inertial sensing was implemented to be combined with a real time visual feedback. A custom vision system able to fit into an endoscopic pill, with low power consumption and capable of a real time data stream up to 20 fps was designed and developed. The capsule was tested during in-vivo trials. Tests have confirmed the expected results: the capsule, supplied with a 30 mAh battery was working for 20 minutes at the expected frame rate. The overall system was shown to be a portable, reliable solution to move and steer a capsular device in the operating theatre.
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