Colon cancer, the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the U.S., is curable if detected at early stages. To inspect the colon for polyps or cancerous cells, standard colonoscopy is performed by inserting a long, flexible colonoscope. Conventional colonoscopy is slow, painful, and requires sedation and insufflation. Maneuvering difficulty, possibility of loop formation, risk of tissue perforation, and a steep learning curve for surgeons are other issues with manual colonoscopy. Fusion of robotics and endoscopy is paving the way to automate this procedure to reduce trauma and discomfort to patients and facilitate wide-scale screening.

Locomotion is the most challenging part of a robotic design for colonoscopy due to the intrinsic characteristics of the colon. The colon is slippery, naturally collapsed, stretchable, and loosely fixed to surrounding tissue. Many previous designs have used an inchworm approach, wheels, and/or tracks to achieve locomotion [1,...

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