Robot Worms for Stomach and Intestines

June 6, 2006

colon_robot.jpgThe most terrifying thing a doctor can tell you at your next colonoscopy is about to change from "I found something suspicious" to "I'd like to do further exploration with this segmented robot potato." A team of scientists from Italy, Germany, Greece and the UK are developing a robot designed to crawl through the intestines and stomach by mimicking the wriggling movements of an undersea worm. The team has already created a few prototypes (see videos here and here), and they are currently working on a robot with a camera and a light to capture video as it travels. Unfortunately (fortunately?) the robot is going to need years of testing because, as one researcher put it, "if something this complicated goes wrong, it could be very hard to get out." I don't know why they don't just add a drilling device to the front of the robot. That way, if something goes wrong, the robot could just drill its way to freedom and safety.


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