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Problem Addressed

There has been considerable progress in interventional technologies for the gastrointestinal tract; large efforts are being directed towards microsurgical tools that are minimally invasive, biocompatible and biodegradable, multifunctional, and well accepted by the patient's immune system. One example of a clinical intervention where a multifunctional miniature robot is desired is the ingestion of button batteries. According to the National Capital Poison Center, more than 3500 people ingest batteries in the United States every year. 42 deaths and 169 cases with severe esophageal burns and subsequent complications have been reported. Considering the fatality of these accidents and the limited availability of efficient interventional tools to counteract them, the inventors approached this problem by deploying a miniature surgical robot in the stomach that can perform versatile medical and surgical tasks in vivo. Their approach requires no on-board electronics, allowing for a simple and minimally invasive robot, and a greater choice of biocompatible and biodegradable materials from which to fabricate them.