Colorectal cancer can be prevented and cured in case of early diagnosis. Conventional flexible colonoscopes are most commonly used for colon inspection and treatment, which, however, still have two major limitations: (i) patient discomfort related to the colonoscopy procedure without sedation; (ii) high skill requirements for endoscopists. To address these limitations and provide a safe, effective, efficient, and easy-to-manipulate solution for colonoscopy, we proposed and designed an electromagnetically actuated soft-tethered (EAST) colonoscope system.
The EAST colonoscope system is equipped with regular diagnostic and therapeutic functions as the conventional flexible colonoscope. It can achieve painless colonoscopy without sedation due to the active locomotion under external magnetic fields as well as the gentle interaction with the human colon. We also developed autonomous navigation and polyp detection based on artificial intelligence to introduce easy and intelligent manipulation of the colonoscope, which thus reduces the skill requirements and workloads of endoscopists. With this intelligent system, the social acceptance and availability of regular colon inspection can be enhanced.
Compared to other robotic colonoscopes, (i) this system is equipped with regular diagnostic and therapeutic functions as the conventional flexible colonoscope; (ii) Painless colonoscopy without sedation due to the active manipulation under magnetic fields as well as the gentle interaction between the colon and the soft tether; (iii) Low skill requirements and workloads for endoscopists with easy manipulation and assisted functions of the colonoscope, such as autonomous navigation and poly detection; (iv) High autonomy of the system enables rapid colonoscopy and enhances the availability of the regular colon inspection.