Shape memory alloy-based biopsy device for active locomotive intestinal capsule endoscope

Proc Inst Mech Eng H. 2015 Mar;229(3):255-63. doi: 10.1177/0954411915576946.


Recently, capsule endoscopes have been used for diagnosis in digestive organs. However, because a capsule endoscope does not have a locomotive function, its use has been limited to small tubular digestive organs, such as small intestine and esophagus. To address this problem, researchers have begun studying an active locomotive intestine capsule endoscope as a medical instrument for the whole gastrointestinal tract. We have developed a capsule endoscope with a small permanent magnet that is actuated by an electromagnetic actuation system, allowing active and flexible movement in the patient's gut environment. In addition, researchers have noted the need for a biopsy function in capsule endoscope for the definitive diagnosis of digestive diseases. Therefore, this paper proposes a novel robotic biopsy device for active locomotive intestine capsule endoscope. The proposed biopsy device has a sharp blade connected with a shape memory alloy actuator. The biopsy device measuring 12 mm in diameter and 3 mm in length was integrated into our capsule endoscope prototype, where the device's sharp blade was activated and exposed by the shape memory alloy actuator. Then the electromagnetic actuation system generated a specific motion of the capsule endoscope to extract the tissue sample from the intestines. The final biopsy sample tissue had a volume of about 6 mm(3), which is a sufficient amount for a histological analysis. Consequently, we proposed the working principle of the biopsy device and conducted an in-vitro biopsy test to verify the feasibility of the biopsy device integrated into the capsule endoscope prototype using the electro-magnetic actuation system.

Keywords: Biopsy device; capsule endoscope; electromagnetic actuation system; shape memory alloy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alloys
  • Biopsy / instrumentation*
  • Capsule Endoscopes*
  • Capsule Endoscopy / instrumentation
  • Electromagnetic Fields
  • Equipment Design


  • Alloys