Robotic endoscopic capsules for gastrointestinal screening, diagnosis and therapy: achievements and future challenges

Gastrointestinal endoscopy dates back to the 1860s, but many of the most significant advancements have been made within the past decade. Wireless capsule endoscopy (WCE), a revolutionary clinical alternative to traditional flexible scopes, enables inspection of the digestive system with minimal discomfort for the patient or the need for sedation, mitigating some of the risks of flexible endoscopy. Although WCE has entered the medical scene as a disruptive technology, it presents a number of limitations, e.g., the impossibility to actively control locomotion and camera orientation, which leads to low diagnostic specificity and false-positive results. Therefore, the natural evolution of clinical WCE consists of integrating mechanisms for closed-loop active locomotion and providing the capsule with sensors and tools for diagnosis and therapy.

We propose addressing a wide range of open challenges about robotic endoscopic capsule in a dedicated workshop at IROS. Ranging from active locomotion mechanisms to sensing and therapeutic modules, the topics of interest will cover key aspects of smart robotic devices for gastrointestinal procedures. In the morning, a keynote presentation is followed by three technical sessions: i) capsules and novel flexible endoscopic devices, ii) robotic locomotion for active endoscopic capsules and iii) sensing and therapeutic modules. We will call for posters and the best poster will be selected by the workshop attendees; the winner will be announced by the end of the workshop. The current and future challenges will be discussed in a panel discussion with all invited speakers and the attendees of the workshop. To represent the current research trends, we design a combination of invited talks: invited speakers will include experts with an engineering and medical background.