Robot Swarm Performs Colonoscopy And Biopsy

I have to say I have my doubts about this procedure as an alternative to colonoscopy.


(Robot swarm microgrippers perform colonoscopy)

At Johns Hopkins University, in Baltimore, David Gracias and his colleagues have developed microgrippers—star-shaped devices that can measure less than 500 micrometers from tip to tip. The grippers can be made of materials that respond to environmental factors such as temperature, pH, and even enzymes. A temperature-sensitive gripper’s arms will close when exposed to the body’s heat. If placed well, the arms will close around tissue, performing a miniature biopsy.

Such grippers might provide a less invasive way to screen for colon cancer in patients who suffer from chronic inflammatory bowel diseases. Today, Gracias says, such screening can involve taking dozens of samples with forceps, in an effort to get good statistical coverage of the interior surface of the colon. Instead, a doctor could insert hundreds or thousands of microgrippers into the colon through a tube and then retrieve them using a magnet or, later, by sifting through the patient’s stool.

Based on tests in live pigs, Gracias’s team estimates that about one-third of the grippers capture tissue. Others may come up empty-handed because they have the wrong orientation or close before reaching anything. But he says this approach, which minimizes the cost and maximizes the ease of manufacturing, could be powerful.

“The typical idea has been that you have one device that you guide precisely [to perform a] surgical procedure,” Gracias says. His strategy borrows a page from the imperfect world of biology: “If you have a large number of not-perfect devices, you may be able to achieve the same functionality as one perfect one.”

These microgrippers bear an uncomfortable resemblance to the cookie-cutters from Neal Stephenson's 1995 novel The Diamond Age.

Microscopic invaders were more of the threat nowadays. Just to name one example, there was ... the Seven Minute Special, a tiny aerodynamic capsule that burst open on impact and released a thousand or so corpuscle-sized bodies, known colloquially as cookie-cutters, into the victim's bloodstream. It took about seven minutes ... for the cookie cutters to be randomly distributed throughout the victim's organs and limbs.

A cookie-cutter was shaped like an aspirin tablet ... two tiny centrifuges. Detonation dissolved the bonds holding the centrifuges together so that each of a thousand or so ballisticules suddenly flew outward...
(Read more about cookie-cutters)

If long-time Technovelgy readers think that this story seems familiar, you're right; I wrote about Microgrippers Grab, Cut Tissue Internally in 2008. Technovelgy readers always have one foot in the future!

Via IEEE Spectrum.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 5/29/2015)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )

Related News Stories - (" Medical ")

Skin Electronics Can Show Electrocardiogram
'... the young men in the streets who applied polyimde OLED body film to their bared shoulders.' - Chen Qiufan, 2019.

Neurodevices For Consumers? Neuroethicists (And Philip K Dick) Say 'Caveat Emptor'
'They tried to use it today and it wouldn't work. No colors and no ceph patterns, neither one...' - Philip K. Dick, 1977.

BrainEx Restores Some Activity To Severed Pig Head
'... they placed the brain in a special solution, having all the properties of Nursing the brain cells.' - Edmond Hamilton, 1929.

Purdue Pharma Ready To Profit From OxyContin Use Or Addiction Recovery
'It may be organic damage. It may be permanent. Time'll tell, and only after you are off Substance D for a long while.' - Philip K. Dick, 1977.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

China Deploys Robot Traffic Police
'The robot came up smooth and fast as a rocket...'

Better Than Dune Chromoplastic? This Guy Might Have Done It
'But when Old Father Sun departs, the chromoplastic reverts to transparency in the dark.'

Gather, An AI Warehouse Inventory Drone Startup
'It extended three of its tiny arms sideways to lock onto the registration pins...'

China's Artificial Intelligence-Enhanced Education
'The grey gas not only cut off his vision, but also his other senses...'

Orbital Manufacturer 'Made in Space' Gets $73 Million NASA Contract
'Mass-produced in the orbiting factories...'

Soli Gesture Tech Will Be In Google Pixel 4
'I enjoy watching this way, but - He waved his hand and the circuit switched abruptly.'

Uber Eats Pairs Cars With Drones
Fresh grub? Let's hope they aren't delivering grubs.

Space-Based Solar Power Roundup
SF writers popularized and elaborated on this idea a generation before the first patents were filed.

Lost Language Meanings Found By Machine Learning
'The autopilot would need data before it could begin a translation...'

'Aerogel' Sheets For Martian Gardens
'Sealed to the ground along all the sides, Honey, he growled...'

France's 'Red Team' Of Science Fiction Authors
'They're the only experts we have.'

Dim The Sun With Stratospheric Controlled Perturbation Experiment
'Those twin volcanoes; d'ye see them, Mr. Renner?'

Mashambas Skyscraper Farm Design Wins
'...a towering eighty-story structure like the office In-and Out baskets stacked up to the sky.'

Self-Driving Tractors From China Plan Ahead
'Machines that seemingly with full consciousness walked out into the fields to do their daily work.'

Jet-Powered Hoverboard Works!
L'audace, l'audace, toujours l'audace!

Nobe 3-Wheel Electric Vehicle Parking Like I, Robot
Spidercar, Spidercar, does whatever a spidercar does.

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.