Tapeworms Inspire Biosensor Design

Inspired by tapeworms and other organisms, researchers seeking to implant a biosensor within the small intestine are developing an implantation capsule robot that can be swallowed.

September 11, 2017

Inspired by tapeworms and other organisms, researchers seeking to implant a biosensor within the small intestine are developing an implantation capsule robot that can be swallowed. Researchers at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, and the University of Nebraska Medical Center, note that parasites such as the tapeworm employ a strategy of mechanical adhesion via the combined use of hooks or needles and suckers. The paper “Design and Validation of a Biosensor Implementation Capsule,” published in ASME’s Journal of Biomechanical Engineering, discusses and presents evidence for major design choices.

Such a long-term, noninvasive and nonrestrictive delivery method would allow the ICR to be implanted to the mucosa of the intestine long-term. The paper discusses the design and preliminary validation of the ICR’s primary subsystem, the sensor deployment system. Testing was done to refine the design of the suction and needle attachment as well as the ICR’s sensor ejection features. An experiment shows needle sharpness, needle length, and vacuum volume were varied, and no statistically significant difference was observed.

Preliminary testing, coupled with prior work within a live porcine model, provided evidence that this is a promising approach to implanting a biosensor with the small intestine.

To read the full paper in ASME's Journal of Biomechanical Engineering, click here.