A better capsule endoscopy? — U of Utah researchers developing autonomous robot: 6 insights

Salt Lake City-based University of Utah researchers developed the Spherical Actuator Magnetic Manipulator, which can be used to improve non-invasive colonoscopy, PC Mag reports.

Here's what you should know:

1. Patients take a small pill containing an internal magnet, a camera, a microprocessor and a wireless transmitter, and SAMM uses a robotic arm with a powerful magnetic device to move the pill throughout the gastrointestinal tract.

2. University of Utah Telerobotics Lab Director Jake Abbott, PhD, said SAMM improves on capsule endoscopy by allowing physicians to control the pill's movement.

3. With capsule endoscopy, the pill passes through the body, transmitting images via the digestive process. SAMM controls the pill's movement.

4. Dr. Abbott is targeting the GI tract initially, but he envisions the technology eventually being adapted to other places in the body.

5. SAMM can cover the complete GI tract in about an hour and a half, and while a physician can monitor the exam, it's not necessary for the physician to be in the room.

6. Dr. Abbott said he and a group of students are attempting to get National Institutes of Health funding to create a clinical version of SAMM.

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