Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

'Fantastic voyage' through the body, with precision control

Date:
December 16, 2011
Source:
American Friends of Tel Aviv University
Summary:
Scientists have devised a method to guide endoscopic "capsules" on a more precise course through the small intestine to detect difficult-to-diagnose tumors or wounds, or allow for biopsies or drug delivery. The ability to manipulate the capsule, he says, will not only lead to better diagnosis capabilities, but a less invasive and quicker procedure as well.

A prototype of the "capsule" being tested at Brigham & Women's Hospital, Boston.
Credit: Image courtesy of American Friends of Tel Aviv University

Endoscopes -- small cameras or optic fibres that are usually attached to flexible tubing designed to investigate the interior of the body -- can be dangerously invasive. Procedures often require sedative medications and some recovery time. Now a researcher at Tel Aviv University is developing a "capsule endoscope" that can move through the digestive tract to detect problems independent of any attachments.

According to Dr. Gabor Kosa of TAU's School of Mechanical Engineering, the project is inspired by an endoscopic capsule designed for use in the small intestine. But unlike the existing capsule, which travels at random and snaps pictures every half second to give doctors an overall view of the intestines, the new "wireless" capsules will use the magnetic field of a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine and electronic signals manipulated by those operating the capsule to forge a more precise and deliberate path.

It's a less invasive and more accurate way for doctors to get an important look at the digestive tract, where difficult-to-diagnose tumors or wounds may be hidden, or allow for treatments such as biopsies or local drug delivery. The technology, which was recently reported in Biomedical Microdevices, was developed in collaboration with Peter Jakab, an engineer from the Surgical Planning Laboratory at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, affiliated with Harvard Medical School.

Swimming with the current

What sets this endoscope apart is its ability to actively explore the digestive tract under the direction of a doctor. To do this, the device relies on the magnetic field of the MRI machine as a "driving force," says Dr. Kosa. "An MRI has a very large constant magnetic field," he explains. "The capsule needs to navigate according to this field, like a sailboat sailing with the wind."

In order to help the capsules "swim" with the magnetic current, the researchers have given them "tails," a combination of copper coils and flexible polymer. The magnetic field creates a vibration in the tail which allows for movement, and electronics and microsensors embedded in the capsule allow the capsule's operator to manipulate the magnetic field that guides the movement of the device. The use of copper, a non-ferro magnetic material, circumvents other diagnostic challenges posed by MRI, Dr. Kosa adds. While most magnets interfere with MRI by obscuring the picture, copper appears as only a minor blot on otherwise clear film.

The ability to drive the capsule, Dr. Kosa says, will not only lead to better diagnosis capabilities, but patients will experience a less invasive procedure in a fraction of the time.

Microrobotics of the future

In the lab at the Brigham and Women's Hospital, Dr. Kosa and his fellow researchers have tested the driving mechanism of the capsule in an aquarium inside the MRI. The results have shown that the capsule can successfully be manipulated using a magnetic field. Moving forward, the researchers are hoping to further develop the capsule's endoscopic and signalling functions.

According to Dr. Kosa, a new faculty recruit to TAU, this project is part of a bright future for the field of microrobotics. At the university, his new research lab, called RBM2S, focuses on microsystems and robotics for biomedical applications, and an educational robotics lab, ERL, will teach future robotics experts studying at TAU's School of Mechanical Engineering.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Friends of Tel Aviv University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Gábor Kósa, Péter Jakab, Gábor Székely, Nobuhiko Hata. MRI driven magnetic microswimmers. Biomedical Microdevices, 2011; DOI: 10.1007/s10544-011-9594-7

Cite This Page:

American Friends of Tel Aviv University. "'Fantastic voyage' through the body, with precision control." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 December 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/12/111215135851.htm>.
American Friends of Tel Aviv University. (2011, December 16). 'Fantastic voyage' through the body, with precision control. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/12/111215135851.htm
American Friends of Tel Aviv University. "'Fantastic voyage' through the body, with precision control." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/12/111215135851.htm (accessed April 23, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Big Pharma Braces for M&A Wave

Big Pharma Braces for M&A Wave

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 22, 2014) — Big pharma on the move as Novartis boss, Joe Jimenez, tells Reuters about plans to transform his company via an asset exchange with GSK, and Astra Zeneca shares surge on speculation that Pfizer is looking for a takeover. Joanna Partridge reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Study Says Most Crime Not Linked To Mental Illness

Study Says Most Crime Not Linked To Mental Illness

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) — A new study finds most crimes committed by people with mental illness are not caused by symptoms of their illness or disorder. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hagel Gets Preview of New High-Tech Projects

Hagel Gets Preview of New High-Tech Projects

AP (Apr. 22, 2014) — Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is given hands-on demonstrations Tuesday of some of the newest research from DARPA _ the military's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency program. (April 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Smaller Plates And Cutlery Could Make You Feel Fuller

How Smaller Plates And Cutlery Could Make You Feel Fuller

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) — NBC's "Today" conducted an experiment to see if changing the size of plates and utensils affects the amount individuals eat. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

    Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:  

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile iPhone Android Web
    Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins