About this Research Topic
Medical robots can overcome the limitations of standard diagnostic and therapeutic procedures. They can improve precision, safety and reliability, enhancing the user’s dexterity in narrow areas, and providing a wider field for possible interventions. Endoscopy is one of the medical disciplines in which a robot can improve the traditional manual procedure, thanks to sophisticated electronics and mechanical components for the implementation of complex tasks. Endoscopic robots represent a new generation of robots that can navigate inside the human body to inspect, treat disease or deliver drugs.
Having said this, the design of endoscopic robots remains challenging due to the limited space available in the human body that restricts the use of standard components. This requires novel solutions for actuators, sensors and control strategies as well as mechanical components and interventional instruments.
Endoscopic robots with the capability of intervention are often tethered. This design strategy can be adopted because of the need to provide actuation, electrical power, or to stream high-quality video. Tethered robots can reduce on-board components while having the high force required to operate using interventional instruments, however, tethered solutions can limit accessibility to remote internal organs.
Untethered endoscopic robots are difficult to develop due to the limited space available for all the required components. They can be controlled by using a magnetic field to reduce the volume of locomotion parts, however, they have limited force and limited intervention capability. They are often employed for drug delivery or to carry a small cargo.
Many challenges can be seen ahead in the successful design of ideal, untethered endoscopic robots with interventional capability. To achieve this, technological advancements are essential to provide new solutions for miniaturized and low power consumption actuators and sensors, as well as new control strategies to implement complex tasks. Biocompatibility and, for some disposable devices, low cost, are important requirements to be addressed. These are quite often not covered with many proposed concepts.
This Research Topic aims to collect research surrounding actuators, sensors, control systems, and interventional instruments for the design of endoscopic robots. This includes, but is not limited to, new smart or soft materials for actuation and sensing, hardware and algorithms for new control strategies, as well as novel endoscopic robot designs.
Key themes are:
• Endoscopic robots
• Smart materials for actuators and sensors
• Interventional instruments
• Soft actuators and sensors
• Control algorithms and hardware
Keywords: Endoscopic robots, smart materials, soft robots, sensors, actuators
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.