Development of a wireless capsule endoscope is a growing research area because it could be easily swallowed by patients to capture images of the digestive system without pain. But a drawback of the current capsule endoscope is mainly passive-motion-type-endoscope. To overcome this drawback, a maneuverable capsule endoscope (MCE) based on a gimbaled ducted-fan (GDF) system is proposed by presenting a system design, a prototype development of the GDF system, and associated modeling & simulation.
The concept of the GDF is adopted from the thrust-vector control algorithm of a space shuttle. To prevent organ damage, the ducted fan, which generates and controls the thrust required for achieving maneuverability, is mounted on a gimbal structure. A scaled-up prototype of the novel GDF system is manufactured using a commercially available three-dimensional (3D) printer. The overall conceptual design of the MCE based on the GDF system is presented followed by details of other parts needed in developing the MCE. Flow simulation and 3D path-following simulation are performed to evaluate the proposed MCE’s applicability. As a result, the mean terminal velocity of the 6:1 scaled-up MCE prototype was calculated by flow simulation and found to be 0.6047, 0.5941, and 0.9204 m/s for the three postures of the GDF system, which represented the three translational degrees of freedom. For the 1:1 scale prototype, the mean terminal velocity was calculated to be 0.1147, 0.1127, and 0.1746 m/s for the above three postures. The proposed MCE dynamic model follows the desired path profile when the Lyapunov stability–based path-following algorithm was applied to it.
In summary, the terminal velocity achieved is sufficient enough to maneuver inside the stomach organ. The proposed system’s applicability is demonstrated by flow simulation and 3D path-following simulation. Therefore, this novel MCE concept could be used for detecting and diagnosing abnormalities in the digestive system.