Windscreen-wipers aren’t just useful in cars. For doctors examining lungs, it’s equally important to have a clear view.
During a feasibility study, a research team at Leeds University developed a mini-robot that can reach the lungs’ smallest bronchial tubes.
Manually-operated instruments currently used in lung examinations are either too wide in diameter, or too difficult to control.
The robot, however, is made from rubber-like segments with magnetic particles, and is highly flexible.
It is controlled by a robotic guidance system which can be programmed individually in advance using X-ray images of lungs.
Radiation exposure during the procedure? None. In future, the device could be used to take tissue samples or deliver cancer treatment.
This mini ultrasound technology is promising too.