A magnetically actuated endoscopic capsule robot based on a rolling locomotion mechanism
This paper proposes a novel capsule endoscope design which employs a rolling locomotion to navigate within the gastrointestinal (GI) tract and reports our investigation on the viability of this locomotion concept. Capsule endoscopes used in a medical capacity today are passive devices, relying on natural bodily mechanisms and gravity to move the capsule. The development of a device with controllable locomotion and orientation is being developed by many institutions in order to provide medical practitioners with greater reliability in diagnosis and treatment of ailments in the digestive tract. The proposed capsule device in this paper has a spherical shell and features a free to rotate axially mounted permanent magnet armature in the centre. An external magnetic source can be used to both translate and rotate the capsule device. The design aims to reduce the frictional force acted on the capsule as well as simplify the maneuvering in vitro. A prototype device was fabricated using commercially available Nd-Fe-B magnets and acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) plastic using an additive manufacturing system. It was then tested both in dry and simulated intestine environments and the results compared to analytical data.