Project leader: Siim Viilup
    Project start: HT 2011
    Project owner: Jan Wikander
    PIEp contakt: Björn Möller
    This project aims to develop a product/system to facilitate faster, better, easier and less painful investigations using colonoscopy. Colonoscopy is visual examination of the colon (with colonoscope) from the rectum to the ceacum (Figure 1). Colonoscope is a flexible tube that has a camera in the tip, so the examiner can see the inner colon. It has also the ability to snip off polypses and take tissue samples.
    Figure 1. Colonoscope in the colon.
    The colonoscopy is considered as a gold standard for screening and diagnosis of colorectal cancer. The first colonoscopies were conducted in the beginning of 70’s. From then there has been grand development in optics i.e. quality of the image the doctor sees, but the main principle of the colonoscopes on the market are still basically the same. Hence, some drawbacks of the procedure are still not fully solved.
    The main problems are that the procedure can be considerably painful for the patient and sometimes time consuming. Both problems are related to the skill of the doctor performing the colonoscopy.
    The pain and the insertion time could be improved by implementing an active scope which can sense the surroundings and control its shape. The pain is mostly caused when the examiner pushes the scope inward and the scope is directed and deflected by the colon walls. Additionally, there would be no need to straighten the scope anymore, which is necessary for current methods, and hence the procedure time can be reduced. The implementation also assumes less experience from the colonoscopist.
    The insertion process could also be improved by giving some aiding information to the colonoscopist. It is possible for example to implement tactile sensors on the tip of the scope and present the processed information next to the image got from the scope camera.
    Project goal
    The purpose of the project is to develop a solution, which somehow helps the examiner to conduct the procedure (examination and surgical) more efficiently.
    PIEp role
    Innovative environment, business contacts, laboratory equipment, prototypes.
    Simulation model
    Below is a simulation model of the endoscope entering the bowel. Further work is performed to evaluate different parameters such as stiffness, damping, friction etc.
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