Slime-Ridin' Snail-Bot Colonoscopy Robot

A tiny robot that slides on a layer of mucus right on up your intestine is the latest idea for making those colonoscopies more comfortable, say Dutch scientists.

Right. Sometimes I wish I could just read a nice science fiction novel that I knew was all made up.


(Snail-bot Robot Colonoscopy Mucus Rider)

Dimitra Dodou, from Delft University of Technology, in the Netherlands, is testing a polymer material that can cling to proteins found in the gut. That way, the little robot snail colonoscope could inch its way through your intestinal tract as slick as a snail climbs a glass window, on its own little trail of slime.

It just gets better and better. The cylinders that form the body of the snail-bot form alternating polymer-covered 'feet.' As the lead foot gets traction, the others are retracted and coated with water. Thus, it inches along.

From experience, I can tell you that this little robot does not make me feel better about colonoscopies. The only technique that will make you feel better is a nurse with enough Midazolam hydrochloride (aka Versed) to make sure you don't remember a thing about it.

Public Service Announcement: If you are fifty, get a colonoscopy this year! It's the best way to prevent colon cancer, which kills 50,000 Americans every year.

Read more about the intestinal robot.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 9/25/2006)

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