Scientists have developed a tiny, ingestible 3D printed snake-like robot that can navigate through the small intestines, and could one day be used to visualize the digestive system in real time. The robot, called SAW (single actuator wave-like robot), moves in a wave-like motion and can travel through the extremely squishy environment of the small intestine, researchers said.
“The external shape of the robot is a 2D projection of a rotating helix. The result is a continuously moving wave. We can simply reverse the direction by reversing the direction of rotation of the motor,” said David Zarrouk, a mechanical engineer at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel. Current colonoscopies can only access large intestines. There are pill cameras that can reach the small intestines, but they float passively through the digestive system, meaning they typically take 12 hours to travel its entirety.
Image Credit: The Free Press Journal