28 June 2011

A mermaid swimming through the intestines

A robot has been created in Japan to inspect the digestive tractAndrey Velichko, Computer

The capsule-like device is able to move autonomously inside the human stomach and other digestive organs, transmitting information to doctors about what is happening around.

Usually, for gastroscopy or colonoscopy, the doctor uses an endoscope (a special probe in the form of a flexible hose with a video camera at the end), the movements of which he himself controls.

In the last two decades, a capsule with a camera and a battery enclosed in it, which the patient swallows, has been used. Its disadvantages are passivity and limited application: in fact, it has not become an alternative to traditional methods, but only expands their capabilities.

Now scientists from Ryukoku University and the Medical College in Osaka have endowed such a capsule with the ability to move. The robot, nicknamed "Mermaid" ("Mermaid" – VM), has a length of 4.5 cm, and its diameter is about 1 cm. In a second, it can move tens of centimeters with the help of a magnetic drive and a miniature tail, the turns of which are controlled by the operator.

The device is swallowed or inserted rectally and can work 8-10 hours – until the battery runs out.

The self-propelled capsule was first tested on a dog's stomach in 2009. The results of the study were reported at the Digestive Disease Week (DDW 2011) conference on diseases of the digestive system, held on May 7-10 in Chicago (USA), and the demonstration of the device itself took place this week in Osaka.

The project manager, Professor Naotake Otsuka from Ryukoku University, said that he personally swallowed the "Mermaid" and did not experience any painful sensations or discomfort.

Prepared based on the materials of France Press: Japan develops 'swimming' capsule endoscope.

Portal "Eternal youth" http://vechnayamolodost.ru28.06.2011

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