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Medicine Science Technology

Italian Scientists Put Robot Spiders In Your Colon 203

Sockatume writes "Scientists in Italy have developed a robot which will move around the lower digestive tract using legs. The 'Spider-Pill' is fitted with a camera and will stow its legs until it reaches the lower intestine. Once there it can crawl around and take pictures under direction from surgeons. Its USP is that it's more appealing than an endoscopy." The BBC also has video.
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Italian Scientists Put Robot Spiders In Your Colon

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  • by hort_wort ( 1401963 ) on Monday October 12, 2009 @10:11AM (#29718399)

    There already exists a camera pill you can swallow that remotely sends information to a belt you wear for the day. You don't have to stay in the office, and the doctors don't have to waste their time controlling anything. They just watch the movie later in fast forward with some popcorn.

    Is there *any* reason that a doctor would need control over this thing? It can't even get biopsies. Correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't the only directions forward and back? Why don't they just just improve the camera they already have to last longer and transmit pictures at a higher rate?

    Am I the only one imagines this? []

  • by cowboy76Spain ( 815442 ) on Monday October 12, 2009 @10:28AM (#29718611)
    I suppose they may need some control to get better defined images... camera pills may be good if what you have is easy to identify and big enough that the camera will focus on it no matter its orientation (remember, things move in there), but I bet in many cases a doctor will benefit of more insight that knowing that "there is a lump of different color there". Also may help with locating the exact piece of tissue they are looking at (remember, there are no road signs in there).
  • The worst part (Score:5, Interesting)

    by AlpineR ( 32307 ) <> on Monday October 12, 2009 @10:42AM (#29718779) Homepage

    Yeah, I think you'd still have to fast and purge with whatever unpleasant substance the colorectal surgeon chooses to torture you with. The actual colonoscopy isn't painful or anything since you're sedated, it's just a hassle needing a ride home and a break from mental responsibilities.

    But wouldn't you also have to stick around a doctor's office while you wait for the robot to get into position? Or would the robot be controlled really remotely, like by a technician in India while you're walking around the grocery store? And wouldn't you have to restrict your diet while you waited for the robot to pass? And wouldn't you have to collect the robot for return/disposal after you've both done your business?

  • Re:USP? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by arthurpaliden ( 939626 ) on Monday October 12, 2009 @10:48AM (#29718871)
    Then like my attending nurse who said I would only feel a slight discomfort, you have never had one.

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