Even after cleaning and disinfecting an endoscope, the possibility of contamination is high and can have negative effects on the health of patients. U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that there are about two million infected victims yearly and about 20,000 succumb to this infection. In recent news, several deaths at the UCLA Ronald Reagan Medical Center have been linked endoscope bacteria contamination. Thus, there is a need for designing an endoscope which will reduce or eliminate the chances of these deadly bacteria entering the body.
3-D Printing has been rapidly advancing and can be used as a potential solution for this problem. 3-D printing is being used in printing human tissues and also has a history of printing biocompatible materials, including medical devices. This provides a chance of manufacturing a biocompatible, programmable and disposable endoscope that functions in the same way as present endoscopes, without the risk of contamination.
The aim of this project is to design and manufacture a prototype of a 3-D printable, disposable endoscope to eliminate infection rates using different actuation techniques. The preliminary design of endoscope is an active device which can be actuated using various actuation techniques and can be guided through an obstacle course resembling a human colon.