Surgical Endoscopy

, Volume 30, Issue 2, pp 772–778 | Cite as

Design of wormlike automated robotic endoscope: dynamic interaction between endoscopic balloon and surrounding tissues

  • Carmen C. Y. Poon
  • Billy Leung
  • Cecilia K. W. Chan
  • James Y. W. Lau
  • Philip W. Y. ChiuEmail author
Dynamic Manuscript



The current design of capsule endoscope is limited by the inability to control the motion within gastrointestinal tract. The rising incidence of gastrointestinal cancers urged improvement in the method of screening endoscopy.


This preclinical study aimed to design and develop a novel locomotive module for capsule endoscope. We investigated the feasibility and physical properties of this newly designed caterpillar-like capsule endoscope with a view to enhancing screening endoscopy.


This study consisted of preclinical design and experimental testing on the feasibility of automated locomotion for a prototype caterpillar endoscope. The movement was examined first in the PVC tube and then in porcine intestine. The image captured was transmitted to handheld device to confirm the control of movement. The balloon pressure and volume as well as the contact force between the balloon and surroundings were measured when the balloon was inflated inside (1) a hard PVC tube, (2) a soft PVC tube, (3) muscular sites of porcine colons and (4) less muscular sites of porcine colons.


The prototype caterpillar endoscope was able to move inward and backward within the PVC tubing and porcine intestine. Images were able to be captured from the capsule endoscope attached and being observed with a handheld device. Using the onset of a contact force as indication of the buildup of the gripping force between the balloon and the lumen walls, it is concluded from the results of this study that the rate of change in balloon pressure and volume is two good estimators to optimize the inflation of the balloon.


The results of this study will facilitate further refinement in the design of caterpillar robotic endoscope to move inside the GI tract.


Capsule endoscope Robotic endoscope Locomotive module 



This work was supported by the Hong Kong Innovation and Technology Commission (ITS/197/12) and CUHK Direct Grant (No. 4054058).


Carmen C. Y. Poon, Billy Leung, Cecilia K. W. Chan, James Y. W. Lau and Philip W. Y. Chiu declared no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

Supplementary material 1 (MP4 89614 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carmen C. Y. Poon
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Billy Leung
    • 1
    • 3
  • Cecilia K. W. Chan
    • 1
    • 3
  • James Y. W. Lau
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Philip W. Y. Chiu
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.CUHK Jockey Club Minimally Invasive Surgical Skills CenterThe Chinese University of Hong KongShatinHong Kong
  2. 2.CUHK Chow Yuk Ho Technology Center for Innovative MedicineThe Chinese University of Hong KongShatinHong Kong
  3. 3.Department of Surgery, Institute of Digestive Disease, Prince of Wales HospitalThe Chinese University of Hong KongShatinHong Kong

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