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New Robot Glides Through Intestines 96

TechFreep writes to mention a NewScientist article about a new mucus-riding robot, intended for use in medical examinations of the intestinal tract. The snail-like bot, it is hoped, will be easier on the internal organs of patients than similar robots which use small leg-like structures. From the article: "Dodou is testing a polymer material that clings to proteins found in the mucus that lines the gut. She measured the polymer's sticky properties in the lab using sections of pig gut, and also examined the way the polymer's stickiness can be 'switched off' by spraying it with water. This could allow a robot to move in a manner similar to a snail, which alternately makes itself sticky and slippery by exerting pressure with its body."
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New Robot Glides Through Intestines

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  • Too easy (Score:5, Funny)

    by sokoban ( 142301 ) on Saturday September 23, 2006 @11:51PM (#16172229) Homepage
    Someone doing intestinal research named Dodou. Come on at least make it a little bit more difficult for the peanut gallery than that
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Courageous ( 228506 )
      Funny? You call dat funny.

      My wife, a physician, has a coworker. While I do not know how to spell his last name, I am quite sure it's pronounced "Kills". "Hello, Dr. Kills, here's the schedule for your surgery." A surgeon named kills. Easy fodder for the Peanut gallery, but what can I say?

      • by kfg ( 145172 ) *
        Had a girlfriend in college whose gynocologist's name was Dr. Lecher. You can't make this stuff up.

      • by Dirtside ( 91468 )
        Oh, I can beat that, easily.

        My wife's cousin's brother's name is Michael Slaughter.

        He's a doctor.

        He used to be in the army. His rank?

      • by osobear ( 761394 )
        In my high school was a girl, a very unfortunatly named girl, named "Terran Hymen." I don't know why her parents hated her enough to name her that.
        • by triso ( 67491 )
          In my high school was a girl, a very unfortunatly named girl, named "Terran Hymen." I don't know why her parents hated her enough to name her that.
          Hey! I knew her. Did she have a brother named Buster?
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Memnos ( 937795 )
      I periodically experiment with my own mucus-riding robot. It's a tiny thing, composed of an exostruture and programming code within. I've named it "rhinitus".
    • Re:Too easy (Score:4, Funny)

      by Fear the Clam ( 230933 ) on Sunday September 24, 2006 @09:39AM (#16174309)
      If the robot's going to through the intestines undigested, "peanut" would be a good name too.
    • What's the joke in Dodou? is it that it sounds like Dildo?
    • by triso ( 67491 )
      Someone doing intestinal research named Dodou. Come on at least make it a little bit more difficult for the peanut gallery than that
      What is this, a Peter Sellers' movie?
  • New Scientist. The Weekly World News of science reporting...
    • I've always wondered what it would feel like to have a worm-like creature up my ass.
      • I've always wondered what it would feel like to have a worm-like creature up my ass.

        1) Sadly, those were that last words of Billy-Bob Hinkley, of Fallen Springs, Alabama, one fateful night in April when he was drinking far too much Everclear when the aliens landed.

        2) it's far better than a robot gerbil

        3) this will NEVER replace the XBox 360 as a means of entertainment

        4) the first experimental model was powered by an internal-combustion engine with a snorkel, but the Patent Office rejected the patent,

      • Ask a Japanese schoolgirl.
    • I'm tired of reading all these useless posts about stuff that someone thinks they might be able to do. From the article, there is no "snail-bot", muchless one that "glides through intestines". Completely misleading title and useless post. With no proof of concept, it's little more than educated-daydreaming.

      On the other hand, I'm working on a new robot that "swims" through blood vessels and "eats" bad cholesterol. So far I've designed a fin that "might" make the (nonexistantant) robot swim, but I'm still "

  • They found a new application for olestra.
  • by Psionicist ( 561330 ) on Sunday September 24, 2006 @12:05AM (#16172291)
    ... an embedded device that deserves to run Microsoft Windows!
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by apharmdq ( 219181 )
      Dude, that's not such a hot idea. All it needs to do is fail its WGA check just once, and then you get to experience the adventure of installing a valid copy of Windows on a snail somewhere in the vicinity of your colon.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      right... and since it already exploits a "back door" we can call it "W32/anal.worm"
    • by mnmn ( 145599 )
      What if in the rectum, the robot gets stuck in a loop and climbs all the way up and pops into your mouth?

      I say the OS for this thing better be reliable.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by fbjon ( 692006 )
      So... how to root the machine?
    • You could even christen it the POS Microsoft (Piece of Ship)

  • by fahrbot-bot ( 874524 ) on Sunday September 24, 2006 @12:05AM (#16172297)
    Pretty soon, we'll just make miniature robotic versions of doctors and control the micro-droids using virtual reality gear! I can see the senario now...

    To eliminate the worm infestation, the crew makes their way into Fry's bowel, and fights their way to the pelvic splanchnic ganglion, intending to cause a massive bowel movement:

    • Farnsworth: If we can stimulate that nerve, the bowel will convulse, expelling the entire worm society.
    • Hermes: But what about the worms in the other parts of his body?
    • Farnsworth: Listen, this is gonna be one hell of a bowel movement. Afterwards he'll be lucky if he has any bones left.
    • Shit explosion ftw!
    • Nice one, this was the exact quote I had in mind when I saw the article ^^
      • Nice one, this was the exact quote I had in mind when I saw the article

        Thanks. Whenever I read it I actually hear Farnsworth saying, "Afterwards he'll be lucky if he has any bones left." in my mind and it cracks me up every time. I think it's how his voice waivers on the word "bones".

        I also have to hand it to you. I hope I don't offend, but "Stunt Penguin" is very funny. As Dave Barry would say, sounds like a good name for a rock band.

        • Hehe, yea the name's a private joke- you know the bit in Batman Returns where The Penguin has a bunch of, well, penguins with the rockets strapped to their backs? We were watching it at home and my sister asked what type of penguins they were. Well........ I just replied, deadpan..... 'stunt penuins, stupid'.

          Anyway, it's as good a signin name as any ^^
  • by bunions ( 970377 ) on Sunday September 24, 2006 @12:09AM (#16172311)
    right up there with "Giants trade Bonds, Snow for Carrot-Top" and "Heat-seeking flying lizards swarm city"
  • by kbox ( 980541 )
    Tell Dodou, Things "glide through the intestines" pretty well on thier own already.
    • by Kizor ( 863772 ) on Sunday September 24, 2006 @12:58AM (#16172509)
      That only serves to prove that you've never been subjected to a colonoscopy gone wrong.
      Which, from the patient's point of view, always happens.
    • by fbjon ( 692006 )
      Nothing glides through on their own without being powered somehow. Muscle contractions power feces, but only one way. This one does the work itself.
    • You said, "Things "glide through the intestines" pretty well on their own already." That is under normal conditions. After surgery or if there is kinkor one has a hernia, etc. paralysis may set in. "There are two types of intestinal obstructions, mechanical and non-mechanical. Mechanical obstructions occur because the bowel is physically blocked and its contents can not pass the point of the obstruction. This happens when the bowel twists on itself (volvulus) or as the result of hernias, impacted feces, a
  • Reminds me of when Ryan Dunn shoved a toy car up his ass in Jackass the movie.
  • by LBt1st ( 709520 )
    I'm pretty sure I don't need robots crawling all through my ass, thanks.
    • Re:Um.. (Score:5, Informative)

      by Quadraginta ( 902985 ) on Sunday September 24, 2006 @12:54AM (#16172489)
      Just you wait, sonny. When you turn 55 or so, your other choice is to have the doc stick a fat periscope up there to take a look, screen you for bowel cancer. Bring on the robots, I say.
      • Barium sucks too (Score:1, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Just you wait, sonny. When you turn 55 or so, your other choice is to have the doc stick a fat periscope up there to take a look, screen you for bowel cancer. Bring on the robots, I say.

        I'd agree with bringing on the micro robots, I only wish they'd come out faster. I'm 23 and I've been sick for the last 6 years with various gastro-intestinal problems. I've had 2 endoscopes before, and just 3 days ago I had my 2nd ultrasound and 2nd upper G.I test. I don't mind endoscopes since they drug me up first, ultras

        • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward
          From a 28 year old with Crohn's Disease, best of luck to you. I've been through all the tests myself multiple times, and while they're certainly invasive, I find it's important to remember that these are medical professionals simply performing medical procedures to try to help you, so try to keep your spirits up and not let yourself feel overly embarrassed or degraded. Laugh at the situation if you can; at least that gives you some power over it.

          I've had more than a few colonoscopies, and while they weren't
      • Far as I'm concerned, the stress of a colonoscopy is all in the prep: sucking down gallons of water and laxatives and going like a goose for 24 hours. They drug you out pretty good for the process.

        With this robot deal, I think you'd have to do the same prep AND swallow Mini-Bender.

    • I, for one, welcome our new ass-robot overlords..
  • the old man always says...

    This too shall pass, in the end.
    • "This too shall pass, in the end."

      Did you know these robots were voice controlled? Piece of advice: Don't use the word "Armageddon" before the operation is over.
  • "New Robot Glides Through Intestines"

    Lucky robot :(

  • by DittoBox ( 978894 ) on Sunday September 24, 2006 @12:57AM (#16172503) Homepage
    A new virus has been discoverd: W32.e-tapeworm.
  • Do you guys mind? (Score:3, Informative)

    by QuantumG ( 50515 ) <> on Sunday September 24, 2006 @01:02AM (#16172521) Homepage Journal
    I'm trying to eat lunch here.
  • ...don't let it get hold of your splanchnic ganglion!!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 24, 2006 @01:18AM (#16172571)

    Sounds like an interesting concept for a game. Think of what kind of franchises this could... erm, spawn.

    Ridged Racer
    Intestine Coaster Tycoon
    Metal Gear Solids
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
  • Image (Score:1, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    An image captured by the new robot is available here [].
  • I was just wondering what it would be like if a robot could smoothly penetrate my rectum to check for various maladies, and this pooped right up.

    It's not every day that Slashdot knows exactly which articles I'll be most interested in, but once in a while I feel as if I'm in tune with the universe, and Slashdot is right there with me.
  • Improvement (Score:4, Funny)

    by Tablizer ( 95088 ) on Sunday September 24, 2006 @02:50AM (#16172879) Journal
    Anybody who has ever had a doctor shove one of those 20-foot metal hose snakes up their ass to look around will welcome such robots. I for one welcome our ass-dwelling robotic overlords. Better than the snakes they replace.
    • by Detritus ( 11846 )
      They are still going to have to flush out your gastrointestinal tract before deploying the robot.

      When I had a colonoscopy done, the worst part was the doctor handing me a gallon jug of "colon flush" and telling me I had to drink the whole jug. Blech! Before the actual procedure, they gave me a shot of some nice drug that knocked me out.

  • If some disease or condition were to strike at the mucus lining, where would this robot go?
  • I wonder how much these cost? I'm guessing they aren't that cheap to produce, but I don't see them being very re-usable as one thing worse than having some robot go happily up your ass and then slip-sliding through your intestinal-tract is having one that's already been up somebody else's ass.

    I mean, while some people might find this more convenient than other methods if it were a one shot-deal... but I'm also wondering on how the disinfect these suckers afterwords.

    Cool tech, but... yuck!
    • Probably the same way they disinfect the scopes that go up the bum, I'd wager. Once it's done it's job, it goes into a heated vat of disinfectant, then stored in a sterile environment until it's up the pooper again.
  • 1. In Soviet Russia, robot glides though YOU!
    2. In Korea, robots only glide through old people's intestines.
    3. How many Libraries of Congress can this robot hold in its internal memory?
    4. So they can make mucus-gliding robots, but where's my flying car?
    5. ???
    6. Profit!
  • For my masters project, I worked on a snake-like robotic arm. You can imagine the proctology jokes, I am sure.
  • What, 45 comments and no gay/anal probe jokes? Where is the GNAA when you need them!?!
  • Dr. Doo Doo's Snot Bot.
  • a buffer overflow causing a core dump.
  • White Castle Slider Bot! Goes through you almost as fast as our burgers do!
  • is a machine that can shrink people to pilot this machine.
  • and get the microreactor [] guys to switch methane and you might have something here!
  • It looks just like a Telefunken U-47.....
  • With this kind of technology, there is one small fault:
    When you fart, it's game over for the guy with the joystick (how else do you control these things?).
  • ...for metamucil.

The only function of economic forecasting is to make astrology look respectable. -- John Kenneth Galbraith