How a wriggling robot could make a common medical procedure easier

Published: June 16, 2017
Prototype robot.

Nobody needs to reinvent the wheel, but reinventing the colonoscope is definitely worth somebody’s time. Mark Rentschler, an associate professor at the University of Colorado Boulder, is one of those people. He and his team have been working on the wormy robot, above, as a replacement for the usual flexible-camera-tube colonoscope.

“Don’t get me wrong, the traditional methods work very well, but they’re not pleasant for the patient,” Rentschler tells The Verge. “You’re basically pushing a rope through a deformable tube and the rope only bends when you get enough force against a wall. That’s where a lot of the discomfort comes from.

Removing that discomfort is about more than just patient happiness. If colon cancer is caught early, “you’re almost guaranteed survival,” says Rentschler. The problem is that people are so unnerved by...

Read the full story at The Verge.