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School of Food and Advanced Technology
College of Sciences
Design of Wireless Capsule Robot for Medical Applications
Human gut contains diversified population of micro-organisms known as microbiota, which can provide lifelong health information and even influence mood and behaviour. The most common samples used as a proxy for intestinal microbiota are fecal samples; however, they do not categorise spatial inhabitants, and it is not possible to localise them. Therefore, we need a tool to obtain a microbial sample, directly from specific sites in the intestine, without contamination. In my research, I’m developing a pill-sized robotic capsule which will travel along the entire gut, collecting samples from different sites of interest without contamination. The capsule would then be recovered from the faeces, and the collected samples will be recovered after that. The robot would be equipped with a mechanism to collect samples, a storage chamber to protect the collected samples, an actuator (electronic device) to activate the process at target-site, and a battery to energise the actuator. So far, proof-of-concept robotic capsule prototype has been developed which successfully collected microbiota from a post-mortem gut sample. In future, the goal is to test the capsule robot in live animals, which will then be used for the identification of gut related diseases, studying nutrition absorption, and many other applications.
Eight million people die every year due to gut related diseases, and the tools to fully diagnose the gut are not available. The robotic capsule will overcome the limitations of existing tools and it will be used by doctors and vets to diagnose and monitor gut related diseases.
Other than hospitals, this capsule can be used by nutritionists to study nutrition absorption. This capsule can also be used by universities, research institutes and laboratories for research, teaching and testing purposes. The robotic capsule will potentially eliminate the need to kill animals as part of exploring gut ecology.
I'm an Higher Education Commission (HEC) scholar from Pakistan. I did my BS degree in Electronic Engineering from Sir Syed University of Engineering & Technology, Karachi, Pakistan in 2008 and MS degree in Electrical (Control) Engineering from National University of Sciences & Technology, Karachi, Pakistan in 2013. Currently, I'm pursuing my PhD in Micro-robotics from Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand. After my PhD I'll join my alma mater in Pakistan and continue my research interests which include robotics in general and robotic capsule for gut analysis in particular.
Rehan, M., Al-Bahadly, I., Thomas, D. G., & Avci, E. (2021). Measurement of Peristaltic Forces Exerted by Living Intestine on Robotic Capsule. IEEE/ASME Transactions on Mechatronics.DOI: 10.1109/TMECH.2021.3078139.
Rehan, M., Al‐Bahadly, I., Thomas, D. G., & Avci, E. (2020). Capsule robot for gut microbiota sampling using shape memory alloy spring. The International Journal of Medical Robotics and Computer Assisted Surgery, 16(5), 1-14.
Yeo A. G., Rehan, M., & Avci, E. (2021). Mechanical Characterisation of Robotic Capsule Anchoring Mechanism for Gastrointestinal Tract. In 2021 7th International Conference on Advanced Mechatronics (ICAM 2021), Aichi, Japan.
Rehan, M., Al-Bahadly, I., Thomas, D. G., & Avci, E. (2021). Stress Analysis on a Capsule Robot Due to the Peristaltic Movement of the Intestine. In 2020 COMSOL conference, North America. Link: Stress Analysis on a Capsule Robot Due to the Peristaltic Movement of the Intestine (comsol.com)
Rehan, M., (2021). Massey University research update: Technology that transforms. VetScript, 33 (11), pp. 20-22.
Research Achievements (Awards)
Oct. 2020: Semi-finalist Asia-Pacific 3MT competition. A total of 54 competitors participated from Australia, New Zealand, Oceania, Northeast Asia and Southeast Asia.
Sept. 2020: Winner, Massey University 3MT competition 2020
Sept. 2020: Winner, People’s choice Massey University 3MT competition 2020
August 2019: Runner-up best presentation award in the IEEE Postgraduate Symposium. The Symposium was attended by 33 Postgraduate presenters from Massey University and Victoria University of Wellington.
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Last updated on Thursday 18 February 2021