Capsule Robot in Gastro-Intestinal Tract: A Case Study for Robot Programming and Navigation



We present a case study of a pill-sized capsule robot operating in the human’s gastro-intestinal (GI) tract. A design example to conceptually build such a micro-robot is first presented, and a laboratory module is then developed to demonstrate robot navigation techniques. Medical considerations, such as size, speed, safety, and functionality of the robot are discussed, and robot building components are provided including sensors, actuators, processing, communicating, and power supply. The laboratory module is built on the 3D Webots simulation platform. Behavior-based robot navigation methods are introduced to program the robot to navigate in the human’s body.


Shape Memory Alloy Robot Navigation Autonomous Mode Wireless Capsule Endoscopy Shape Memory Alloy Actuator 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Partial support for this work was provided by the National Science Foundation’s Course, Curriculum, and Laboratory Improvement (CCLI) program under Award No. 0837584. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.


  1. 1.
    Yu M (2002) M2A capsule endoscopy. A breakthrough diagnostic tool for small intestine imaging. Gastroenterol Nurs 25(1):24–27CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Liedlgruber M, Uhl A (2009) Endoscopic image processing—an overview. In: Proceedings of 6th international symposium on image and signal processing and analysis, pp 707–712Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Iddan G, Meron G, Glukhovsky A, Swain P (2000) Wireless capsule endoscopy. Nature 405:417Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Olympus—Medical Systems & Endoscopy Accessed 14 Feb 2012
  5. 5.
    Given Imaging Home—Gastrointestinal (GI) & Digestive Disease Accessed 14 Feb 2012
  6. 6.
    RF—The Next Generation Capsule Endoscope Sayaka Accessed 14 Feb 2012
  7. 7.
    Device for In Vivo Imaging (2006) US Patent 7,009,634, to Given Imaging, Patent and Trademark OfficeGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    McCaffrey C, Chevalerias O, O’Mathuna C, Twomey K (2008) Swallowable-capsule technology. IEEE Pervasive Comput 7(1):23–29CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    SmartPill Corp Accessed 14 Feb 2012
  10. 10.
    Wilding I (2001) The enterion capsule: a novel technology for understanding the biopharmaceutical complexity of new molecular entities (NMEs). Drug Dev Deliv 1(1) (Posted on 3/28/2008)Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Sampling Capsule and Process (1995) US Patent 5,395,366, to Gastrotarget Corp., Patent and Trademark OfficeGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Phee L, Accoto D, Menciassi A, Stefanini C, Carrozza M, Dario P (2002) Analysis and development of locomotion devices for the gastrointestinal tract. IEEE Trans Biomed Eng 49(6):613–616Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Kim B, Lee S, Park JH, Park JO (2005) Design and fabrication of a locomotive mechanism for capsule-type endoscopes using shape memory alloys (SMAs). IEEE/ASME Trans Mechatron 10(1):77–86MathSciNetCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Park H, Park S, Yoon E, Kim B, Park J, Park S (2007) Paddling based microrobot for capsule endoscopes. In: Proceedings of the IEEE international conference on robot and automation, Rome, pp 3377–3382, April 10–14Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Quirini M, Webster RJ III, Menciassi A, Dario P (2007) Design of a pill-sized 12-legged endoscopic capsule robot. In: Proceedings of the IEEE international conference on robot and automation, Rome, Italy, pp 1856–1862, April 10–14Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Guo S, Sawamoto J, Pan Q (2005) A novel type of microrobot for biomedical application. In: IEEE international conference on intelligent robots and systems, pp 1047–1052Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Yan G, Lu Q, Ding G, Yan D (2002) The prototype of a piezoelectric medical robot. In: Proceeding of IEEE international symposium on micromechatronics and human science, pp 73–77Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Ingestible Thermometer Pill Helps Athletes Beat the Heat Accessed 01 Aug 2010
  19. 19.
    Karagozler M, Cheung E, Kwon J, Sitti M (2006) Miniature endoscopic capsule robot using biomimetic micro-patterned adhesives. In: IEEE/RAS-EMBS international conference on biomedical robotics and biomechatronics, pp 105–111Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Glass P, Sitti M, Appasamy R (2007) A new biomimetic adhesive for therapeutic capsule endoscope applications in the gastrointestinal tract. Gastrointest Endosc 65(5):AB 91Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Kim B, Park S, Jee C, Yoon S (2005) An earthworm-like locomotive mechanism for capsule endoscopes. IEEE/RSJ international conference on intelligent robots and systems, pp 2997–3002Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Murphy R (2000) Introduction to AI robotics. The MIT Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Siciliano B, Khatib O (eds) (2008) Springer handbook of robotics. Springer-Verlag, BerlinGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Arkin RC (1998) Behavior-based robotics. The MIT Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Webots User Guide Accessed 14 Feb 2012

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Electrical and Computer EngineeringStevens Institute of TechnologyHobokenUSA
  2. 2.Department of Chemistry, Chemical Biology, and Biomedical EngineeringStevens Institute of TechnologyHobokenUSA

Personalised recommendations