By Mike Wehner
Robots come in all shapes and sizes, but even if your nightmares of an eventual robot takeover of the Earth conjure images of heavily-armed battle droids stomping humans into submission, you haven’t seen the most frightening robot yet. At the 2017 ICRA robotics conference in Singapore, one bot gained a lot of attention for pretty obvious reason: it’s designed to explore your butt.
Developed by the Rentschler Research Group, which hails from the University of Colorado – Boulder, this worm-like robot is the ultimate colonoscopy tool. Designed as an option in place of a traditional colonoscopy, the robot can actually navigate through a human colon all on its own, capturing images and taking samples to aid in diagnosis of various ailments and diseases.
As unsettling as the idea of an adventurous robot cruising around your colon might be, its creators suggest its flexible body and silicon rubber covering make it a more comfortable alternative to standard colonoscopy tools in use today. They also note that the worm bot carries a lower risk of perforating the bowel wall or cause other damaging during its exploration.
It’s perhaps a bit comforting to know that the robot remains tethered at all times, allowing for the displacement of air and also for control, so at no point is the bot let loose inside anyone’s body. Still, it’s a pretty wild concept, and will certainly take a good bit of mental preparation for whoever is the first to allow the thing inside their nethers.
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