To make colonoscopy less unpleasant, a team of scientists at the University of Leeds has created a new robotic limb that can perform this procedure.
Pietro uses an end-to-end machine learning algorithm developed by Valdastr and his team to enable the flexible probe to move easily. Probe Magnetic endoscopy – a tube that has a camera on the tip.
The system works both independently and with the help of a kind of human-operated joystick. According to Waldastr, conducting an operation with joysticks is very similar to playing a video game. The system can also determine the location and direction of the endoscope in the large intestine.
The standard endoscopes currently used during colonoscopies are quite difficult to use and require a well-trained specialist.
The robotic limb system was trained using photographs taken from inside the large intestine. The algorithm looks for a black circle in the center of the image, and this circle is the direction where the tool should go.
Researchers have already used this method successfully on artificial colons and two pigs. In their opinion, magnetically controlled procedures are less painful than conventional colonoscopy and therefore it will be possible to use this new method without suppressors.
The research team plans to test the procedure on five healthy volunteers next year. If successful, they will be able to test the method on patients as well.