Robotic System for Flexible Endoscopy

Colonoscopy is a widespread method to inspect the colon for masses or any anomalies and to take a sample of suspicious cancerous tissue with biopsy. This procedure is highly important for early detection of colon cancer and its treatment. During the procedure, a flexible shaft with a camera attached on its tip, is inserted in the colon to monitor or to biopsy. Colonoscopes in the market are guided in the colon with the push of the operator and the tip can be bent by adjusting the tension of cables that lie along the shaft. Since this system has low maneuverability, it can be really hard for the operators to guide it especially through the highly curled “sigmoid colon”. Operator has to spend energy in the turns, losing time. A standard colonoscopy takes between 25 minutes to 1 hour. There are some possible complications of colonoscopy in the patients, both during and after the procedure. Mainly, these complications are; perforation, pain due to mechanical stress and hemorrhage.

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Figure 1: Conceptual Visualization of the System

The objective of this project is developing a new method and device for flexible endoscopy. The aims of the project are shortening the procedure time, increasing operator performance and most importantly minimizing the pain and complications that may be experienced by the patient, by designing a robotic colonoscope. To reach these aims, three goals are set:

– Developing a novel colonoscope: A colonoscope will be designed that inflicts less pressure on the gastrointestinal wall compared to the existing solutions, reduces the pain experienced by the patient, prevents colon lacerations and decreases the effort and time spent by the operator. The novel device will be remotely controlled hence robotic endoscopy will be achieved. By the suggested solution, the procedure time is aimed to be reduced by half.

– Developing a user interface with haptic feedback for the novel colonoscopy device: A user interface will be designed to remotely control the endoscopic device and the tip while also providing haptic feedback of the force exerted by the gastrointestinal wall to the colonoscope to the operator.

– Manufacturing pre-clinical prototype to conduct artificial colon model experiments and animal experiments: Prototype of the novel device will be manufactured to firstly conduct experiments on artificial colon models, followed by animal experiments. Proving the system achieves reduced procedure time and tissue damage is aimed. The planned experiments are approved by Acıbadem University Animal Experiments Ethics Committee.

It is foreseen that, implementation of such a novel and applicable device with added value that is produced in Turkey, will benefit the sector in the field of surgical equipment and robotic systems for which the call for projects was opened.

Project on the Media:

A news story prepared by Boğaziçi University about the project was published by 5 national newspapers (Milliyet, Posta, Yeni Mesaj, Önce Vatan, İstiklal), 5 local newspapers (Ankara Sonsöz, İstanbul Yenigün, İzmir Haber Ekspres, İstanbul Son Saat, İstanbul Yeni Çağrı) and 39 news websites (Hürriyet, Milliyet, Posta, Akşam, NTV etc.)

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Links to the news:

Boğaziçi University

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Project Team:

Boğaziçi University: Assist. Prof. Evren Samur (Coordinator/ Executive), Assist. Prof. Özgür Kocatürk (Researcher), Prof. Dr. Cengizhan Öztürk (Advisor)

Acıbadem University: Prof. Dr. Nurdan Tözün (Executive), Assist. Prof. Emin Aksoy (Researcher), Dr. Dilek Kitapçıoğlu (Researcher), Dr. Pelin Çelikbilek (Researcher)

Boğaziçi University Mechanical Engineering Students: Cem Tutcu (PhD Candidate), Onur Mert Erkan (PhD Candidate), Bora Alp Baydere (MSc Candidate), Timur Altınsoy (MSc Candidate), Şeref Kemal Talaş (MSc Candidate)

Simeks Medical: Özgür Karadeniz (Executive), Eda Yılmaz (R&D Engineer), Yalın Dermanlı (Production Engineer)

Collaborators:

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Funding:

TÜBİTAK ARDEB 1003 (115E717)