Abstract: Despite revolutionary advances in many fields of medicine, there are no active mobile in vivo devices commercially available, or in use, today. Several research groups are actively looking at a number of mobility methods in a number of lumens but little commercial work has been done. While robotic surgery is available today, thanks to ex vivo robots, such as the da Vinci surgical system, these methods are very expensive, require heavy external equipment, and are still constrained by entry incisions. An alternative approach may be to place the robot completely inside the patient. Such devices may enable noninvasive imaging and diagnostics. These devices may be significantly less expensive than current minimally invasive methods, without extensive support equipment, which may allow them to be also used routinely in the emergency room (ER)/trauma sites and remote locations. This work explores micropatterned treads that may enable mobile capsule crawlers inside the body. Current research efforts into providing contact locomotion using micro-tread tracks are explored including initial drawbar force generation experimental results, dynamic finite element analysis with these tread designs, and in vivo porcine evaluation and comparison of two leading tread designs. 

Sliker, L.J., Wang, X., Schoen, J.A., Rentschler, M.E., "Micropatterned Treads for In vivo Robotic Mobility," ASME Journal of Medical Devices. 4(4): 041006-1-041006-8, 2010.

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