CODIR proposes a new configuration of fundamental and applied biomedical and engineering multidisciplinary research to explore and characterise colon behavior necessary for the project and wider objectives. Scope and focus is on novel robotic hydro-colonoscopy (RHC), which stems from two considerations: (i) replacement of the flexible colonosocope with a patient-friendly system for inspection of the mucosal surface colon and (ii) the very recent concept of hydro-colonoscopy whereby water is used instead of traditional air insufflation. RHC can enable a breakthrough in patient-compliant complete endoscopic examination and biopsy of the colon for the further study of life threatening disorders of the colon commonly categorized as inflmmatory bowel disease, all of unknown aetilogy despite intensive research. CODIR will provide new insights for biomedical investigation and research applicable to many biomedical fields: biologic [absorption of water and electrolyte from the colon, characterisation of surface topograpgy of the colon, mechanical properties of colonic wall], imaging, mechatronics robot functionality and a novel colonic irrigation and filling system. The ambition is to develop a one-stop holistic system which cleans the colon of faecal debris and then introduces a tethered swimming/ submerging robot for inspection of the mucosal aspect of colon under the control of a clinician operating the endoluminal mini-robot from a control console. A secondary, very important outcome of CODIR is to increase patient compliance (currently 50%) for screening colonoscopy in early diagnosis of colorectal cancer, the worlds second commonest cancer. RHC can overcome major disadvantages of existing colonoscopy examination: discomfort, sedation, thus increasing compliance and enabling future research.
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