Abstract: Multiple research groups are investigating the feasibility of miniature, swallowable, in vivo, untethered robots that are capable of traversing the small intestine for the purpose of acquiring biometrics and performing simple surgical procedures. A mathematical model of the intraluminal environment will speed the development of these so-called Robotic Capsule Endoscopes (RCEs), and to this end, the authors, in previous work, initiated a comprehensive program for characterizing both the active and passive forces exerted by the small intestine on an RCE-sized solid bolus. In this work, forces due to adhesivity between RCE materials and the mucosa are investigated. The experimental factors are adhesive modality (peel and tack), material (polycarbonate, micropatterned polydimethylsiloxane, stainless steel, and mucosa), and bowel region (proximal, middle, and distal). The mucosa is excised from a fasting pig, stored in lactated ringer's solution at 3 °C, and then tested at room temperature within 43 h of excision. The results show the mean tack strength of the mucosa to engineering materials was 0.198±0.070 mJ cm−2. The mean peel strength was 0.055±0.016 mJ cm−2. This study marks the first time, to the authors' knowledge, that adhesivity between small intestinal mucosa and RCE engineering materials has been measured. The adhesivity values acquired from this study will provide a valuable input into analytical and numerical models of the gastrointestinal tract, specifically models that account for the interfacial properties of the tissue.

Terry, B.S., Passernig, A.C., Hill, M., Schoen, J.A., Rentschler, M.E., "Small Intestine Mucusal Adhesivity to In vivo Capsule Robot Materials," Journal of Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials. 15: 24-32, 2012.

(Downloadable PDF)