Robot that can perform colonoscopies aims to make it less unpleasant

 

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 A robot that can perform colonoscopies may make the procedure simpler and less unpleasant.

Pietro Valdastri at the University of Leeds in the UK and his colleagues have developed a robotic arm that uses a machine learning algorithm to move a flexible probe along the colon.

The probe is a magnetic endoscope, a tube with a camera lens at the tip, that the robot controls via a magnet external to the body.

The system can either work autonomously or be controlled by a human operator using a joystick, which pushes the endoscope tip further along the colon. Valdastri likens the movement to the intuitive motion of playing a video game. The system also keeps track of the location and orientation of the endoscope inside the colon.

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