Using robotic assistance to make colonoscopy kinder and easier

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The robotic arm houses a magnet that interacts with magnets on a small capsule inside the patient and is able to navigate the capsule to the correct spot inside the colon. Credit: University of Leeds

Scientists have made a breakthrough in their work to develop semi-autonomous colonoscopy, using a robot to guide a medical device into the body.
The milestone brings closer the prospect of an intelligent robotic system being able to guide instruments to precise locations in the body to take biopsies or allow internal tissues to be examined.
A doctor or nurse would still be on hand to make clinical decisions but the demanding task of manipulating the device is offloaded to a robotic system.
The latest findings – ‘Enabling the future of colonoscopy with intelligent and autonomous magnetic manipulation’ – is the culmination of 12 years of research by an international team of scientists led by the University of Leeds.
The research is published today (Monday, 12 October) in the scientific journal Nature Machine Intelligence.
Patient trials using the system could begin next year or in early 2022.
Pietro Valdastri, Professor of Robotics and Autonomous Systems at Leeds, is supervising the research. He said: “Colonoscopy gives doctors a window into …

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