Endoscopy 2010; 42(2): 148-152
DOI: 10.1055/s-0029-1243808
Original article

© Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York

Robotic versus manual control in magnetic steering of an endoscopic capsule

G.  Ciuti1 , R.  Donlin2 , P.  Valdastri1 , A.  Arezzo3 , A.  Menciassi1 , 4 , M.  Morino3 , P.  Dario1 , 4
  • 1CRIM Lab, Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, Pontedera, Italy
  • 2BioRobotics Laboratory, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA
  • 3Centre for Minimally Invasive Surgery, University of Torino, Italy
  • 4Italian Institute of Technology Network, Genova, Italy
Further Information

Publication History

submitted 29 May 2009

accepted after revision 24 November 2009

Publication Date:
16 December 2009 (online)

Background and study aims: Capsular endoscopy holds promise for the improved inspection of the gastrointestinal tract. However, this technique is limited by a lack of controlled capsule locomotion. Magnetic steering has been proposed by the main worldwide suppliers of commercial capsular endoscopes and by several research groups. The present study evaluates and discusses how robotics may improve diagnostic outcomes compared with manual magnetic steering of an endoscopic capsule.

Materials and methods: An endoscopic capsule prototype incorporating permanent magnets was deployed in an ex vivo colon segment. An operator controlled the external driving magnet manually or with robotic assistance. The capsule was maneuvered through the colon, visualizing and contacting targets installed on the colon wall. Procedure completion time and number of targets reached were collected for each trial to quantitatively compare manual versus robotic magnetic steering (t-test analysis with P = 0.01). Then, through a set of in vivo animal trials, the efficacy of both approaches was qualitatively assessed.

Results: In ex vivo conditions, robotic-assisted control was superior to manual control in terms of targets reached (87 % ± 13 % vs 37 % ± 14 %). Manual steering demonstrated faster trial completion time (201 ± 24 seconds vs 423 ± 48 seconds). Under in vivo conditions, the robotic approach confirmed higher precision of movement and better reliability compared with manual control.

Conclusions: Robotic control for magnetic steering of a capsular endoscope was demonstrated to be more precise and reliable than manual operation. Validation of the proposed robotic system paves the way for automation of capsular endoscopy and advanced endoscopic techniques.


G. CiutiPhD 

Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna

viale R. Piaggio 34
56025 Pontedera

Fax: +39-050-883497

Email: g.ciuti@sssup.it