Technology & Engineering

Locomotion system for capsule endoscopes


Capsule endoscopes – tiny wireless cameras – help doctors find the cause of bleeding in the small intestine, as well as diagnosing bowel disease, celiac disease, and cancer.

Patients prefer them over traditional colonoscopy – a tethered camera – but the downside is that, once swallowed, the clinician loses all control.

This invention uses electromagnetic principles to produce motion. An electromagnetic coil slides forward around a rail to create an impact force, propelling it forwards. Everything is contained within the capsule itself, so it keeps its streamlined shape. There are no legs, wheels, tracks, propellors or any other external mechanisms which could get stuck, break off or damage tissue

We’re developing a series of prototypes, each getting progressively smaller. Meanwhile, we’re also developing a wearable antenna-based system to track the capsule as it passes through the body.

Taken together, these two technologies will allow a clinician to maintain control of the capsule endoscope as it passes through the body.

We’re looking for commercial partners to help us develop these technologies further.

Speak to Dr Ben Golland at to learn more.

Inventors: Hasan Shaheed (lead) and Mo Thaha for the active capsule endoscope; Mo Thaha (lead) and Akram Alomainy for the tracker.

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