The Ingestible 3-D Snake Robot

Let me start off by saying that I am definitely not a fan of snakes, at least not actual snakes. I got bit by my friend’s python once when I was in middle school and thought it was poisonous. Needless to say, my relationship with snakes ever since has involved nothing but fear.

In recent technology news, it seems that “snakes” might actually be more helpful to me than I thought. Scientists have developed a robotic snake that can aid in the treatment of digestive diseases. I have Crohn’s Disease, which causes a variety of digestive problems, so despite my fear of snakes, this snake might be able to help people like me with such digestive diseases in the future.

The robot is 3-D and is capable of maneuvering through the rough terrain of the digestive system. The snake has a small camera that allows doctors and surgeons to get an inside look at a person’s large and small intestine. This would allow surgeons to be more precise and doctors to more accurately identify digestive issues. This snake can move in a wave-like motion and squeeze into the intestines and is an improvement upon existing camera “snakes”. This snake is rather a controllable robot and

ingestible-snake-robot.jpg

Unfortunately, this snake is not quite ready to be used on humans. The current version of the snake robot is not yet small enough to fit through the intestines and stomach valves. Researchers are in the process of creating a smaller version that can easily be swallowed by humans. Once the smaller version has been created, the device will be tested on animals, such as pigs, before it’s cleared to be used in treating humans.

The expected use of this device on humans could occur as early at this summer, however, there’s a lot of research and testing that skill needs to be done! If the device is successful, it might just be one of the best tools to help treat digestive diseases!

A prototype example of the 3D ingestible snake.

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