During the MEDICA medical technology trade fair in Düsseldorf the KUKA Innovation Award was decided on the topic of “Healthy Living”. Robotic talents from all over the world applied with their ideas and an international jury selected the five best concepts. The final teams presented their ideas to a broad specialist audience at MEDICA 2019.
The evening before, the jury had decided which of the five final teams would receive the prize endowed with 20,000 euros. Not an easy task, says Prof. Stefano Stramigioli. “I have been a member of the jury for several years, it was never as hard as this year. The quality of the concepts was high and covered a broad spectrum.”
Painless colorectal cancer screening: a concept that can save lives
Team RoboFORCE with researchers from the Universities of Leeds, Vanderbilt and Turin convinced the jury with their concept for robotic magnetic flexible endoscope for painless colorectal cancer screening, surveillance and intervention. “In the end, the jury opted for a concept that offers patients particularly great advantages. We see great potential in this innovative idea “, says Rainer Bischoff.
The colonoscopy is a common procedure to detect bowel cancer in its early stages. This procedure offers major advantages. Nevertheless, the current technology also has disadvantages such as the risk of perforation, pain and high costs. As an alternative, Team RoboFORCE developed a robot platform using a magnetic capsule which navigates through the bowels thanks to magnetic coupling with an external magnet mounted on an LBR Med.
“We put a lot of effort into this project,” says team leader Prof. Pietro Valdastri. “We want to save lives with it. Colorectal cancer is a great danger, our technology can make screening more accessible and painless”.