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Design of a vision-guided microrobotic colonoscopy system

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In this paper presents a novel design of a microrobotic colonoscopy (MRC) system. The proposed microrobotic colonoscope is an autonomous vision-guided device, which is designed to navigate inside a human colon for the purpose of observation, analysis and diagnosis. It is developed to alleviate the shortcomings in the existing manual colonoscopy procedure, which is generally cumbersome and tedious for the colonoscopist and painful to the patients. The MRC system is divided into three areas, i.e. design of the microrobotic device, path planning and guidance, and offboard control system. A novel design of the microrobot is presented which utilizes a pneumatic mechanism to achieve locomotion and steering. A new concept of clamping the colon wall based on passive vacuum devices is suggested. General mathematical analysis governing the differential steering of the robotic tip is also described. The path planning of the microrobot is carried out based on the sensory fusion utilizing the quantitative parameters derived from the captured images and the tactile sensors. An off-board control system to control the directional movements of the microrobot is explained. The proposed colonoscopy system was tested with physical models and animal colons, and the experimental observations are presented.


Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2000-08-15

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