WO2009107892A1 - Endoscope system - Google Patents

Endoscope system Download PDF

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Publication number
WO2009107892A1
WO2009107892A1 PCT/KR2008/001723 KR2008001723W WO2009107892A1 WO 2009107892 A1 WO2009107892 A1 WO 2009107892A1 KR 2008001723 W KR2008001723 W KR 2008001723W WO 2009107892 A1 WO2009107892 A1 WO 2009107892A1
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WO
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Patent type
Prior art keywords
capsule
type endoscope
endoscope
pair
external magnet
Prior art date
Application number
PCT/KR2008/001723
Other languages
French (fr)
Inventor
Yeh-Sun Hong
Ju-Sung Lee
Original Assignee
University Industry Cooperation Foundation Korea Aerospace University
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
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    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61BDIAGNOSIS; SURGERY; IDENTIFICATION
    • A61B1/00Instruments for performing medical examinations of the interior of cavities or tubes of the body by visual or photographical inspection, e.g. endoscopes; Illuminating arrangements therefor
    • A61B1/04Instruments for performing medical examinations of the interior of cavities or tubes of the body by visual or photographical inspection, e.g. endoscopes; Illuminating arrangements therefor combined with photographic or television appliances
    • A61B1/041Capsule endoscopes for imaging
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61BDIAGNOSIS; SURGERY; IDENTIFICATION
    • A61B1/00Instruments for performing medical examinations of the interior of cavities or tubes of the body by visual or photographical inspection, e.g. endoscopes; Illuminating arrangements therefor
    • A61B1/00147Holding or positioning arrangements
    • A61B1/00156Holding or positioning arrangements using self propulsion
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61BDIAGNOSIS; SURGERY; IDENTIFICATION
    • A61B1/00Instruments for performing medical examinations of the interior of cavities or tubes of the body by visual or photographical inspection, e.g. endoscopes; Illuminating arrangements therefor
    • A61B1/00147Holding or positioning arrangements
    • A61B1/00158Holding or positioning arrangements using magnetic field
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61BDIAGNOSIS; SURGERY; IDENTIFICATION
    • A61B34/00Computer-aided surgery; Manipulators or robots specially adapted for use in surgery
    • A61B34/70Manipulators specially adapted for use in surgery
    • A61B34/73Manipulators for magnetic surgery
    • A61B2034/731Arrangement of the coils or magnets
    • A61B2034/733Arrangement of the coils or magnets arranged only on one side of the patient, e.g. under a table

Abstract

An endoscope system using a capsule-type endoscope put in a human body is disclosed. More particularly, the endoscope system is capable of stopping and moving the capsule-type endoscope put in an organ of the human body, for a photographic diagnosis for example, through a remote control from the outside of the human body using a magnetic force. According to the embodiment of the present invention, since a rotating magnetic field is generated using two magnets symmetrically disposed with respect to the capsule-type endoscope, the magnet size can be reduced to obtain the same magnitude of magnetic force in comparison with the conventional art using only one magnet. Since the magnetic forces exerted by two magnets to the capsule-type endoscope are compensated by each other, the magnetic force would not be excessively operated in radial directions of the capsule-type endoscope. Accordingly, damage of the organ by the excessive magnetic force can be prevented.

Description

ENDOSCOPE SYSTEM

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to an endoscope system utilizing a capsule-type endoscope put into a human body, and more particularly to an endoscope system capable of stopping and moving a capsule-type endoscope put into a human organ, for a photographic diagnosis for example, through a remote control using a magnetic force from the outside of the human body.

Description of the Related Art A conventional capsule-type endoscope is equipped with a photographing unit, a wireless communication unit, and a small battery. When put into a human body through a mouth, the capsule-type endoscope photographs the inside of internal organs and transmits signals of the photographed images to the external receiver, while passing through an esophagus, a stomach, a small intestine and a large intestine until being discharged out of the body. Such a capsule-type endoscope is passively moved according to peristalsis of the organs.

Therefore, during the movement, the capsule-type endoscope is unable to optionally stop at a desired spot for a precision examination or return for a reexamination to the desired spot already passed.

In order to overcome such inconveniency, Olympus Inc. has introduced an improved method for advancing the capsule-type endoscope through a spiral motion by rotating the capsule-type endoscope having a built-in permanent magnet and a screw thread statically attached to an outer cover thereof, using a three- axis stator coil from the outside, as disclosed in EP 1652466A1. The above method using the static screw thread is effective in a straight organ having a predetermined viscosity. However, due to a fixed angle of screw, performance of the capsule-type endoscope would be greatly deteriorated in certain organs having extremely high or low viscosity or having a curvature.

When the capsule-type endoscope is rotated especially in a high-viscosity organ, the capsule-type endoscope may adhere to an inner wall of the organ and thereby twist the organ. Because the twist gets more serious as the endoscope is further advanced, the spiral advancement cannot be performed any more.

In addition, when the capsule-type endoscope passes through a curved organ, an effective angle of screw varies according to whether the organ is twisted left or right. When the effective angle of screw is too great in the high-viscosity organ, the organ is apt to be twisted due to great friction. On the other hand, in a low-viscosity organ, when the effective angle of screw is too great, the capsule-type endoscope slips and when too small, an advancing speed is greatly deteriorated.

In the aforementioned patent EP 1652466A1, furthermore, a Helmholz coil, which is huge enough to surround a human body, is required to apply a rotating magnetic field for rotating the capsule-type endoscope. However, such a huge electromagnet is as expensive as a magnetic resonance imager (MRI) and restricted in an installation space due to the great size. In order to solve those disadvantages, a Korean Patent

Registration No. 615881 applied by Korea Institute of Science and Technology suggests a capsule-type endoscope control system which comprises a medical capsule mounted with a permanent magnet, a magnetic field sensor and an image module, a wireless transmission circuit for transmitting a series of signals to the outside of a human body, a 2-DOF rotary joint unit for rotating in a yaw, roll or pitch direction an external permanent magnet exerting a series of magnetic forces with regard to the permanent magnet provided in the medical capsule, a photoelectric distance sensor attached to a lower end of the 2-DOF rotary joint unit to measure a distance between the external permanent magnet and a surface of the human body, a Cartesian coordinate robot for moving the external permanent magnet and the 2-DOF rotary joint unit along digestive organs in the human body, a bed for supporting the human body being diagnosed or treated, being able to roll within a certain degree, and a remote control unit for controlling operations of the 2-DOF rotary joint unit, the bed and the Cartesian coordinate robot to thereby move, rotate and stop the capsule in the human body as desired.

According to the above invention, the endoscope control system utilizes the magnetic force of the permanent magnet attached to a lower end of a manipulator with greater than 5 DOF, to move the capsule-type endoscope including the permanent magnet mounted in the capsule from the outside of the human body. Thus, since the capsule-type endoscope having an outer cover with a screw thread can be rotated and therefore spirally- advanced using the 2-DOF rotary joint unit mounted at the lower end of the manipulator, this invention is more economical than the previous one applied by Olympus Inc., which uses the huge electromagnet .

However, in order to rotate the capsule-type endoscope remote from the human body using only one external magnet, the external magnet has to be in a great size. Nevertheless, if the magnetic force in radial directions of the external magnet for attracting the capsule-type endoscope is excessively great, even the organ may be pulled and damaged. Accordingly, it is indispensable to prepare a safety function to control a distance between the external magnet and the capsule-type endoscope by sensing the magnetic force so that the distance is not reduced to a predetermined degree

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Therefore, the present invention has been made in view of the above problems, and it is an object of the present invention to provide an endoscope system capable of supplying a rotating magnetic field for a capsule-type endoscope to be able to smoothly move in organs of a human body, by inducing a spiral motion of the capsule-type endoscope through yaw, pitch and roll rotations remotely from the human body without using a huge magnet as in conventional arts.

In accordance with the present invention, the above and other objects can be accomplished by the provision of an endoscope system using a capsule-type endoscope advanced through a spiral motion in an organ of a human body, the endoscope system comprising the capsule-type endoscope including a variable screw device forming spiral projections for advancing the capsule-type endoscope through right-handed and left-handed rotations, and photographing an image of an inside of the organ by being put into the human body, a first magnetic force applying part rotating in roll, yaw and pitch directions a first external magnet that applies a magnetic force to the capsule-type endoscope from the outside of the human body in accordance with a user's operation, and moving or fixing the position of the first external magnet, a second magnetic force applying part disposed symmetrically to the first magnetic force applying part with respect to the human body to rotate in roll, yaw and pitch directions a second external magnet that applies a magnetic force to the capsule- type endoscope in association with the first external magnet, and moving or fixing the position of the second external magnet, and a controlling device detecting the position of the first and the second external magnets, varying the position of the second external magnet corresponding to the position of the first external magnet, generating a rotating magnetic field by associatively rotating the first and the second external magnets, and outputting an image of the inside of the organ photographed by the capsule-type endoscope for the user's recognition.

In accordance with another aspect of the present invention, there is provided an endoscope system using a capsule-type endoscope advanced through a spiral motion in an organ of a human body, the endoscope system comprising the capsule-type endoscope including a variable screw device forming spiral projections for advancing the capsule-type endoscope through right-handed and left-handed rotations, and photographing an image of an inside of the organ by being put into the human body, a magnetic force applying part rotating a first external magnet and a second external magnet that apply a magnetic force to the capsule-type endoscope from both sides out of the human body in roll, yaw and pitch directions, and simultaneously moving or fixing the position of the first and the second external magnet, and a controlling device controlling the position of the magnetic force applying part in accordance with controlling information input by the user, generating a rotating magnetic field by rotating the first and the second external magnets in association with each other, and outputting an image of the inside of the organ photographed by the capsule-type endoscope for the user' s recognition.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The above and other objects, features and other advantages of the present invention will be more clearly understood from the following detailed description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is a schematic view for explaining the basic concept of an endoscope system according to the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a schematic view of an endoscope system according to an embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 3 is a detailed view of a master manipulator of the endoscope system shown in FIG. 2; FIG. 4 is a detailed view of a slave manipulator of the endoscope system shown in FIG. 2;

FIG. 5 is a view showing an inner structure of a controlling device shown in FIG. 2; FIG. 6 is a view showing an inner structure of a capsule-type endoscope according to a first embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 7 is a schematic view illustrating the operation of the capsule-type endoscope of FIG. 6; FIG. 8 is a schematic view showing a modified form of the capsule-type endoscope of FIG. 6;

FIG. 9 is a schematic view illustrating the operation of a capsule-type endoscope according to a second embodiment of the present invention; FIG. 10 is a schematic view showing a modified form of the capsule-type endoscope of FIG. 9;

FIG. 11 is a schematic view of an endoscope system according to another embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 12 is a detailed view of a C-shape manipulator of the endoscope system of FIG. 11;

FIG. 13 is a detailed view of a bed of the endoscope system of FIG. 11; and

FIG. 14 is a view showing an inner structure of a controlling device of the endoscope system of FIG. 11. DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Hereinafter, exemplary embodiments of the present invention will be described in detail with reference to the accompanying drawings. In the following description, well- known functions or constructions are not described in detail since they would obscure the invention in unnecessary detail. Terms described herein are determined in consideration of functions in this invention, and definition of the terms may vary according to an inventor' s intention or custom. Also, the definition of the terms is determined based on the contents throughout the specifications.

Accordingly, it is to be clearly understood that the description about the embodiments explained and illustrated herein is made only by way of example and not as a limitation to the scope of our invention, and it shall be considered that such modifications, changes and equivalents thereof are all included within the scope of the present invention.

First of all, the basic concept of the present invention will be explained with reference to FIG. IA through FIG. ID.

As shown in FIG. IA, in a state where a small magnet having polarities is disposed in the center, when a pair of magnets are arranged around the small magnet serially in the same polar direction, the magnetic force is balanced. Here, if the magnets arranged at outer positions are rotated as shown in FIG. IB to FIG. ID, the small magnet in the center is rotated in pitch, yaw and roll directions.

Based on the above principle, the endoscope system of the present invention utilizes two binary magnets, rather than a single magnet as conventional, from the outside of the capsule- type endoscope such that the magnetic force is not excessively applied in one direction and furthermore the capsule-type endoscope can be driven from a remote distance using even a small magnet. An endoscope system according to an embodiment of the present invention will now be described with reference to FIG. 2. As shown in FIG. 2, the endoscope system 200 comprises a capsule-type endoscope 210, a first magnetic force applying part 220, a second magnetic force applying part 230, and a controlling device 240.

As generally known, the capsule-type endoscope 210 obtains various information by being put in a human body 1. Differently from a conventional capsule-type endoscope of Olympus Inc., of which an advancing direction is varied according to a rotational direction thereof, the capsule-type endoscope 210 is equipped with a variable screw device so as to keep a constant advancing direction regardless whether the capsule-type endoscope 210 rotates according to a right-handed screw or a left-handed screw. The structure and operation principle of the capsule- type endoscope 210 will be described in greater detailed hereinafter.

The first magnetic force applying part 220 drives either of the binarized magnets. More particularly, in accordance with a user' s operation, the first magnetic force applying part 220 rotates a first external magnet 221 in roll, yaw and pitch directions, the first external magnet 221 which applies a magnetic force to the capsule-type endoscope 210 from the outside of the human body 1. Also, the first magnetic force applying part 220 moves and fixes the position of the first external magnet 221.

It is preferred that the first magnetic force applying part 220 comprises a master manipulator including a first motor unit 222 for rotating the first external magnet 221 in roll, yaw and pitch directions by having a 2-DOF rotary joint unit, and a horizontal multi-joint unit 223 connected to the first motor unit 222 by one end to move the first external magnet 221 in lateral and vertical directions, as shown in FIG. 2 and FIG. 3. In addition, the horizontal multi-joint unit 223 may comprise rotary joints 223a and a vertical sliding joint 223b which are equipped with an electronic, hydraulic or pneumatic brake to be fixed at a specific position.

Braking and releasing of the joints 223a and 223b may be performed by the user' s manual operation through an operation handle 225. For example, the user is able to manually move the first external magnet 221 after inputting a signal for releasing the respective joints 223a and 223b. After positioning the first external magnet 221, the user can fix the positions of the respective joints 223a and 223b of the master manipulator 220 by operating the brake, and then apply the rotating magnetic field by rotating the first external magnet 221 in roll, yaw or pitch directions through the first motor unit 222. Here, although the braking and releasing of the joints

223a and 223b of the master manipulator 220 is performed using the operation handle 225 in this embodiment, the present invention is not limited to the above. For example, a dedicated remote controller (not shown) can be used to brake and release the joints 223a and 223b.

The operation handle 225 is mounted to one side of the first motor unit 222 so that the user operating the endoscope system 200 is able to control rotation of the first and second motor units 222 and 232, and fixed and released states of the master manipulator 220. Preferably, the operation handle 225 is capable of controlling a projecting direction of a fixing protrusion of the capsule-type endoscope 210. This will be described later in detail referring to FIG. 6 and FIG. 7.

The second magnetic force applying part 230 is disposed symmetrically to the first magnetic force applying part 220 with respect to the human body 1. The second magnetic force applying part 230 rotates the second external magnet 231 which applies the magnetic force to the capsule-type endoscope in association with the first external magnet 221 in roll, yaw and pitch directions. Also, the second magnetic force applying part 230 moves and fixes the position of the second external magnet 231.

It is preferred that the second magnetic force applying part 230 comprises a slave manipulator including a second motor unit 232 for rotating the second external magnet 231 in roll, yaw and pitch directions, and a linear driving unit 233 for moving the second magnet 231 in vertical directions, as shown in FIG. 2 and FIG. 4.

Both the linear driving unit 233 and the rotary joint unit 223 are driven by an electric servo motor having a position controlling function. Also, it is preferred that commanding signals regarding a rotation angle of the respective joints are input from the controlling device 240.

Additionally, it is preferred that the respective joints of the master manipulator 220 and the slave manipulator 240 are provided with a rotation angle sensor A or a displacement sensor B according to types thereof. Through the rotation angle sensor A and the displacement sensor B, the controlling device 240 can obtain information on the positions and rotated states of the respective joints and use the information in measuring the positions of the first external magnet 221 and the second external magnet 231.

When the positions of the first and the second external magnets 221 and 231 are thus measured, the controlling device 240 automatically moves the second external magnet 231 corresponding to the position of the first external magnet 221 being moved by a manual operation.

With the above structure, the user is able to easily achieve the rotating magnetic field by associatively operating the first and the second external magnets 221 and 231 just by operating the master manipulator 220. Herein, the positions of the first and the second external magnets 221 and 231 are output to be recognizable for the user's reference.

The endoscope system 200 according to the embodiment of the present invention may further comprise a swivel chair 250. As shown in FIG. 2 and FIG. 4, the swivel chair 250 includes a backrest 251 equipped with the slave manipulator 230 at a rear part thereof such that the human body 1 can be easily exposed to the rotating magnetic fields generated by the master manipulator 220 and the slave manipulator 230 disposed at the front and back of the human body 1, respectively.

Here, preferably, the swivel chair 250 can be angle- adjusted through the backrest 251 and rotated in a roll direction by a rotational shaft 252 thereof. Hereinafter, the detailed structure of the controlling device 240 will be described with reference to FIG. 5.

The controlling device 240 measures the positions of the first external magnet 221 and the second external magnet 231 through the result of measurement performed by the rotation angle sensor A and the displacement sensor B, using a magnet position detecting unit 245.

The magnet position detecting unit 245 calculates a position change data required to move the second external magnet 231 corresponding to the position of the first external magnet 221, that is, to be symmetrical to the first external magnet 221. A slave manipulator control unit 247 controls the operation of the slave manipulator 240 in accordance with the position change data.

The operation of the slave manipulator 240 may be controlled by a command manually input through a user input unit, that is, a manual command input unit.

A magnet rotation commanding unit 244 controls the first and the second motor units 222 and 232 upon transmission of a signal regarding rotation of the first and the second external magnets 221 and 231, thereby rotating or stopping the first and the second external magnets 221 and 231.

A wireless transmission unit 241, being provided for wireless communication with the capsule-type endoscope 210, receives image information transmitted from the capsule-type endoscope 210 and information on a direction and a strength of the magnetic forces operated from the outside of the capsule- type endoscope 210.

The received information is transmitted to an indicating unit 242 and output to be recognizable by the user. Especially, the information on the direction and strength of the magnetic forces is transmitted to an endoscope position detecting unit 243 and used in detecting the capsule-type endoscope 210.

In addition, the position information of the capsule- type endoscope 210 detected by the endoscope position detecting unit 243 is also transmitted to the indicating unit 242 for the user's reference.

Upon being transmitted with a fixing commanding signal regarding a rotatable ring from the operation handle 225, the wireless transmission unit 241 transmits the commanding signal to the capsule-type endoscope 210. Then, the capsule-type endoscope 210 projects the fixing protrusion in a direction according to the fixing commanding signal.

Hereinafter, the operation of the endoscope system 200 according to the embodiment of the present invention will be described.

First, when the operation handle 225, more specifically, a magnet rotation switch included in the operation handle 225 selects a function to rotate the first external magnet 221 clockwise, the first external magnet 221 is rotated clockwise by the magnet rotation commanding unit 244 of the controlling device 240 while the second external magnet 231 is rotated counterclockwise, thereby generating the rotating magnetic field to the capsule-type endoscope 210. When the operation handle 225 selects the opposite function, the first external magnet 221 is rotated counterclockwise and the second external magnet 231 clockwise.

When the capsule-type endoscope 210 starts a spiral motion, the user moves the first external magnet 231 along the internal organ using the operation handle 225 while viewing the image transmitted from the capsule-type endoscope 210 through the indicating unit 242.

During this, the second external magnet 231 is automatically moved by the slave manipulator control unit 247 of the controlling device 240 such that a center of the first external magnet 221 is always disposed on a central line of the second external magnet 231, the central line perpendicular to a rotational axis of the second external magnet 231.

In order to change a spiral direction during the movement of the capsule-type endoscope 210, it can be achieved by changing the rotational directions of the two external magnets 221 and 231. When changing an advancing direction of the capsule-type endoscope 210, the position of the fixing protrusion is changed. When using a capsule-type endoscope 310 according to a second embodiment of the present invention, the same effect can be accomplished by moving the two external magnets corresponding to a desired position of the capsule-type endoscope 310 and rotating the external magnets, without necessarily changing the position of the fixing protrusion.

In order to stop the movement of the capsule-type endoscope 210, rotations of the two external magnets are stopped and a joint brake is operated to fix the joints of the master manipulator 220. When a diagnosis is completed, the first external magnet is retreated from the human body and the second external magnet is moved to a lower part so that the all magnetic forces operated to the capsule-type endoscope is removed. After a predetermined time passes, the capsule-type endoscope is discharged out of the human body by peristalsis.

With the above described structure, the endoscope system 200 according to the embodiment of the present invention is capable of advancing in any directions desired by the user of the endoscope system 100 regardless of the rotational directions of the capsule-type endoscope 210 put into the human body through a mouth, without causing any unwanted side effects such as twist of the organ. Furthermore, since the endoscope system 200 does not require a huge structure such as the Helmholz coil, restriction in the installation space can be overcome. Additionally, damage of the organ by an excessive magnetic force can be prevented.

Hereinafter, the structure of the capsule-type endoscope 210 according to a first embodiment of the present invention will be described in greater detail with reference to FIG. 6. Referring to FIG. 6, the capsule-type endoscope 210 comprises an image sensor and second wireless communication unit 211, a battery 212, and a permanent magnet 213 magnetized in a direction perpendicular to a rotational axis thereof.

The image sensor and second wireless communication unit 211 photographs an image of the organ in the human body and wirelessly transmits the image to the outside.

The battery 212 supplies power required for operations of the respective parts in the capsule-type endoscope 210.

The permanent magnet 213 applies the magnetic force to the capsule-type endoscope 210. The permanent magnet 213 may be arranged at the front and back of the battery 212 as divided into two, or solely disposed at the front or back of the battery 212.

A variable screw device 214 is attached to an outer cover of the capsule-type endoscope 210 according to the first embodiment of the present invention, as shown in FIG. 7.

The variable screw device 214 comprises at least one pair of rotatable rings 214a slidable and rotatable with respect to a shaft formed at a main body of the capsule-type endoscope 210 in a length direction, a plurality of blades 214b interconnecting the at least one pair of rotatable rings 214a, a fixing protrusion 214c interposed between each pair of the rotatable rings 214a, and an intermediate prominence 214d having the fixing protrusion 214c. When receiving the fixing commanding signal from the controlling device 240, the fixing protrusion 214c is projected in a direction toward any one of the pair of rotatable rings 214a in accordance with the fixing commanding signal to thereby selectively fix one of the pair of rotatable rings 214a. According to the above structure, upon reception of the fixing commanding signal from the controlling device 240, the capsule-type endoscope 210 fixes any one of the pair of rotatable rings 214a in accordance with direction information included in the fixing commanding signal. To be more specific, as shown in FIG. 7A through FIG.

7F, the capsule-type endoscope 210 according to the first embodiment of the present invention includes protrusion groups 214e having a triangle or trapezoid shape and formed on surfaces facing each other between the pair of rotating rings 214a. The fixing protrusion 214c is projected by a fixing protrusion driving unit 215 in one direction toward any one of the pair of rotatable rings 214a (to the left in FIG. 6A) in accordance with the fixing commanding signal, thereby being selectively connected with any one protrusion group 214e of the pair of rotatable rings 214a. Afterwards, when the rotating magnetic field is applied from the outside, an unfixed rotatable ring 214a is twisted by friction with the organ and accordingly a screw is formed by the blades 214b. Therefore, the capsule-type endoscope 210 advances while performing right-handed or left-handed rotation as shown in FIG. 7C and FIG. 7E.

The advancing direction of the capsule-type endoscope 210 is determined by the projecting direction of the fixing protrusion 214c. Furthermore, the capsule-type endoscope 210 is capable of maintaining the same advancing direction although the rotational direction is changed. Therefore, the user, for example a doctor, can decide on the rotational direction of the capsule-type endoscope 210 optionally according to the curvature or viscosity of the organ. According to the above principle, although the capsule- type endoscope 210 may be stuck to the inside of the organ, the capsule-type endoscope 210 can keep advancing without causing twist of the organ, by being driven to alternately perform left-handed and right-handed screw rotations. Although only a case in which the fixing protrusion 214c is projected to the left has been described, the same principle will be applied when the fixing protrusion 214c is projected to the right as shown in FIGs. 7B, 7D and 7F.

Here, the number of the rotatable rings 214a and the intermediate prominences 214d are not restricted, that is, can be plural as shown in FIG. 8.

In addition, the capsule-type endoscope 210 may further comprise a magnetic field sensor 215 which senses the direction and strength of the magnetic forces operated from the outside to the capsule-type endoscope 210. Information on the direction and strength of the magnetic forces, detected by the magnetic field sensor, is wirelessly transmitted through the image sensor and second wireless communication unit 211 together with an image signal. The transmitted information on the magnetic force direction and strength is used for the controlling device 240 to detect the capsule-type endoscope 210 put in the human body.

Hereinafter, the capsule-type endoscope 310 according to the second embodiment of the present invention will be described with reference to FIG. 9A through FIG. 9G.

The capsule-type endoscope 310 according to the second embodiment has almost the same inner structure as the capsule- type endoscope 210 according to the first embodiment. However, a variable screw device 314 of the capsule-type endoscope 310 has a distinctive feature.

The variable screw device 314 of the capsule-type endoscope 310 according to the second embodiment comprises at least one pair of rotatable rings 314a slidable and rotatable with respect to a shaft formed at a main body of the capsule- type endoscope 310 in a length direction, a plurality of blades 314b interconnecting the at least one pair of rotatable rings 314a, and an intermediate prominence 314c interposed between each pair of the rotatable rings 314a. On contacting surfaces between the pair of rotatable rings 314a and the intermediate prominence 314c, protrusion groups 314d and 314e having a trapezoid or triangle form are formed so that the advancing direction of the capsule-type endoscope 310 is automatically determined according to the direction of the magnetic force applied from the outside.

More specifically, when the first and the second external magnets 221 and 231 are disposed in front of the capsule-type endoscope 310, in a state where the pair of rotatable rings 314a and the blades 314b are stuck to the inside of the organ by friction, only the main body of the capsule-type endoscope 310 is advanced by the magnetic force so that a front one of the pair of rotatable rings 314a is connected with the intermediate prominence 314c through the protrusion groups 314d and 314e as shown in FIG. 9B. If the first and the second external magnets 221 and 231 are rotated in this state, the capsule-type endoscope 310 is rotated with a rear one of the pair of rotatable rings 314a released. Therefore, the blades 314b are twisted by friction with the inside of the organ, thereby forming a screw. The screw can be right-handed or left-handed as shown in FIG. 9D or FIG. 9F according to the rotational direction of the capsule-type endoscope 310. Without regard to the screw direction, however, the capsule-type endoscope 310 advances forward only. On the contrary, when the first and the second external magnets 221 and 231 are disposed at the back of the capsule- type endoscope 310, only the main body of the capsule-type endoscope 310 is moved backward with the pair of rotatable rings 314a and the blades 314b stuck to the inside of the organ. Therefore, the rear one of the rotatable rings 314a is connected with the intermediate prominence 314c as shown in FIG. 9C. If the external magnets 221 and 231 are rotated in this state, the capsule-type endoscope 310 is rotated with the front rotatable ring 314a released. Accordingly, the blades 314b are twisted by the friction with the inside of the organ and thereby form a screw.

Although the screw can be right-handed or left-handed as shown in FIG. 9E or FIG. 9G according to the rotational direction of the capsule-type endoscope 310, the capsule-type endoscope 310 is always moved backward without regard to the screw direction.

Thus, the advancing direction of the capsule-type endoscope 310 is automatically determined according to whether the first and the second external magnets 221 and 231 are at the front or the back of the capsule-type endoscope 310. Therefore, since a dedicated driver for fixing the rotatable rings is not required to be built in the capsule-type endoscope, the structure can be simplified. Also, the user is able to operate the capsule-type endoscope more simply and easily without having to consider the direction of the fixing protrusion 214c.

The capsule-type endoscope 310 according to the second embodiment may also surely comprise more than two rotatable rings 314a and the intermediate prominences 314c as shown in FIG. 10.

An endoscope system according to another embodiment of the present invention will now be explained with reference to FIG. 11. In the following description, the same reference numerals as in FIG. 1 through FIG. 10 refer to the same functional elements.

Referring to FIG. 11, an endoscope system 400 according to another embodiment comprises the capsule-type endoscope 210, a magnetic force applying part 420, and a controlling device 440. The endoscope system 400 uses the magnetic force applying part 420 which is capable of moving and fixing first and second external magnets 421 and 422 simultaneously, as shown in FIG. 11.

Here, as shown in FIG. 12, the magnetic force applying part 420 comprises a C-shape manipulator. The C-shape manipulator comprises a C-shape frame 427, a 2-DOF rotary joint unit 428, and a plane sliding joint unit 429 that reciprocates the 2-DOF rotary joint unit 428 in back and forth directions and lateral directions. The C-shape frame 427 supports an upper driver 425 and a lower driver 426 so that the upper and the lower drivers 425 and 426 are disposed at a predetermined distance from each other with the human body 1 therebetween. A first motor unit 423 and a second motor unit 424 for rotating the first and the second external magnets 421 and 422 in roll, yaw and pitch directions are slidably mounted to the upper driver 425 and the lower driver 426, respectively.

The 2-DOF rotary joint unit 428 rotates the C-shape frame 427 in roll, yaw and pitch directions. The plane sliding joint unit 429 reciprocates the 2-DOF rotary joint unit 428 forward and backward and to the left and the right.

Through the above structure, the endoscope system 400 is capable of applying the rotating magnetic field using the first and the second external magnets 421 and 422 to from upper through lower parts of the human body 1.

Furthermore, respective joints 425a, 426a, 428a and 429a of the C-shape manipulator 420 are equipped with a rotational angle sensor A or a displacement sensor B in order to measure the position and rotated states of the above joints. Information on the above-measured position and rotated states of the respective joints is transmitted to the controlling device 440 and used in detecting the position of the first external magnet 421 and the second external magnet 431. The C-shape manipulator 420 is operated by a control unit 445 provided at one side of the control device 440.

Additionally, the endoscope system 400 according to another embodiment of the present invention may further comprise a bed 450 for laying down the human body 1 thereon. The bed 450 is disposed to substantially penetrate the center of the C-shape manipulator 420 as shown in FIG. 11 and is adjustable in height by a vertical driver 451 mounted at a lower part thereof as shown in FIG. 13.

Here, it is preferable that height of the vertical driver 451 can be adjusted by the user through the controlling device 440.

Hereinafter, detailed structures of the controlling device 440 will be described with reference to FIG. 14.

The controlling device 440 measures the positions of the first and the second external magnets 421 and 422 through the result of measurement performed by the rotation angle sensor A and the displacement sensor B, using a magnet position detecting unit 443.

The magnet position detecting unit 443 calculates a position change data required to move the second external magnet 422 corresponding to the position of the first external magnet 421, that is, to be symmetrical to the first external magnet 421. A lower driver control unit 444 controls the operation of the lower driver 426 in accordance with the position change data.

Since the wireless transmission unit 241, the indicating unit 242 and the endoscope position detecting unit 243 are all structured in the same manner as in the endoscope system 200 of the previous embodiment, description about them will not be repeated.

The control unit 445 is structured corresponding to the operation handle 225 to control rotations of the first and the second motor units 423 and 424 and a projecting direction of the fixing protrusion of the capsule-type endoscope 210. Moreover, the control unit 445 is capable of controlling the operations of the upper driver 425, the 2-DOF rotary joint unit 428 and the plane sliding joint unit 429.

A first magnet controlling unit 442 and a signal outputting unit 441 are operated in accordance with the user's command input through the control unit 445 to drive the upper driver 425, the 2-DOF rotary joint unit 428 and the plane sliding joint unit 429.

The above-structured endoscope system 400 according to another embodiment of the present invention operates in the following manner. First, when using the capsule-type endoscope 210 according to the first embodiment, the user fixes the rotatable ring by projecting the fixing protrusion forward or backward using the control unit 445, more specifically, using a direction conversion switch of the control unit 445 in order to set the advancing direction of the capsule-type endoscope using the variable screw device to a forward direction or backward direction.

Additionally, the user can control rolling rotational axes of the two external magnets to be parallel with an orientation of the capsule-type endoscope by using the information on a direction of a magnetic field signal and the position of the capsule-type endoscope displayed through the indicator unit 242. Also, when the control unit 445, more specifically, a magnet rotation switch included in the control unit 445 selects a function to rotate the first external magnet clockwise, the first external magnet is rotated clockwise by the magnet rotation commanding unit 244 of the controlling device 440 while the second external magnet 231 is rotated counterclockwise, thereby generating the rotating magnetic field to the capsule-type endoscope.

When the capsule-type endoscope starts a spiral motion, the user controls the C-shape manipulator so that the first and the second external magnets are moved along with the capsule-type endoscope, as viewing the image transmitted from the capsule-type endoscope through the indicating unit. During this, the second external magnet is automatically moved to be always symmetrical to the first external magnet with respect to the bed and such that the rolling rotational directions of two external magnets are parallel with each other.

In order to change a spiral direction during the movement of the capsule-type endoscope 210, it can be achieved by changing the rotational directions of the two external magnets. To change an advancing direction of the capsule-type endoscope, the position of the fixing protrusion is changed. It would be surely understood that these operations are not required when using the capsule-type endoscope 300 according to the second embodiment.

In order to stop the movement of the capsule-type endoscope, it can be achieved by stopping rotations of the two external magnets.

When a diagnosis is completed, the first and the second external magnets are retreated from the human body so that the magnetic force operated to the capsule-type endoscope is removed. After a predetermined time passes, the capsule-type endoscope is discharged out of the human body by peristalsis.

According to the embodiments of the present invention, the rotating magnetic field is generated by two magnets symmetrically arranged with respect to the capsule-type endoscope. Therefore, the magnet size can be reduced to obtain the same magnitude of magnetic force in comparison with the conventional art using only one magnet. Since the magnetic forces operated from both sides of the capsule-type endoscope are compensated by each other, the magnetic force would not be excessively operated in radial directions of the capsule-type endoscope. Accordingly, damage of the organ by the excessive magnetic force can be prevented. Although the magnetic forces from both sides are not exactly balanced, there is just a slim possibility of causing an excessive magnetic force compared to the conventional art that uses a single magnet. As a result, a medical accident due to the excessive magnetic force can be prevented very effectively.

Furthermore, even though any one of the magnets cannot normally operate by breakdown, the endoscope system can still be operated using the other one magnet as in the conventional art. In case of using the capsule-type endoscope according to the second embodiment of the present invention, a dedicated driver does not have to be provided in the capsule-type endoscope to convert the advancing direction of the capsule- type endoscope. Therefore, it becomes advantageous to minimize the size of the capsule-type endoscope and save power consumption. Also, the operation time can be elongated.

In addition, especially, the capsule-type endoscope according to the second embodiment of the present invention is driven by a simple mechanical principle. Therefore, generation of minor breakdowns can be highly reduced.

Although the preferred embodiments of the present invention have been disclosed for illustrative purposes, those skilled in the art will appreciate that various modifications, additions and substitutions are possible, without departing from the scope and spirit of the invention as disclosed in the accompanying claims.

Claims

WHAT IS CLAIMED IS:
1. An endoscope system using a capsule-type endoscope advanced through a spiral motion in an organ of a human body, the endoscope system comprising: the capsule-type endoscope including a variable screw device forming spiral projections for advancing the capsule- type endoscope through right-handed and left-handed rotations, and photographing an image of an inside of the organ by being put into the human body; a first magnetic force applying part rotating in roll, yaw and pitch directions a first external magnet that applies a magnetic force to the capsule-type endoscope from the outside of the human body in accordance with a user' s operation, and moving or fixing the position of the first external magnet; a second magnetic force applying part disposed symmetrically to the first magnetic force applying part with respect to the human body to rotate in roll, yaw and pitch directions a second external magnet that applies a magnetic force to the capsule-type endoscope in association with the first external magnet, and moving or fixing the position of the second external magnet; and a controlling device detecting the position of the first and the second external magnets, varying the position of the second external magnet corresponding to the position of the first external magnet, generating a rotating magnetic field by associatively rotating the first and the second external magnets, and outputting an image of the inside of the organ photographed by the capsule-type endoscope for the user' s recognition.
2. The endoscope system according to claim 1, wherein the first magnetic force applying part comprises a master manipulator which includes: a first motor unit rotating the first external magnet in roll, yaw and pitch directions; and a horizontal multi-joint unit moving the first external magnet in lateral and vertical directions in connection with the first motor unit.
3. The endoscope system according to claim 2, wherein the second magnetic force applying part comprises a slave manipulator which includes: a second motor unit rotating the second external magnet in roll, yaw and pitch directions; and a linear driving unit moving the second external magnet in vertical directions.
4. The endoscope system according to claim 3, wherein the variable screw device comprises: at least one pair of rotatable rings slidable and rotatable with respect to a shaft formed at a main body of the capsule-type endoscope in a length direction; a plurality of blades interconnecting the at least one pair of rotatable rings; and an intermediate prominence interposed between each pair of the rotatable rings and equipped with a fixing protrusion which is projected in a direction toward any one of the pair of rotatable rings in accordance with a fixing commanding signal received from the outside, thereby selectively fixing one of the pair of rotatable rings.
5. The endoscope system according to claim 3, wherein the variable screw device comprises: at least one pair of rotatable rings slidable and rotatable with respect to a shaft formed at a main body of the capsule-type endoscope in a length direction; a plurality of blades interconnecting the at least one pair of rotatable rings; and an intermediate prominence interposed between each pair of the rotatable rings, wherein protrusion groups having a trapezoid or triangle form are further formed on contacting surfaces between the pair of rotatable rings and the intermediate prominence such that an advancing direction of the capsule-type endoscope is automatically determined according to the rotating magnetic field.
6. The endoscope system according to any one of claims
3 to 5, wherein the capsule-type endoscope includes therein a magnetic field sensor detecting a direction and a strength of magnetic forces operated from the outside, and the controlling device further comprises an endoscope position detecting unit detecting the position of the capsule- type endoscope by receiving information on the direction and the strength of the magnetic forces detected by the magnetic field sensor.
«
7. The endoscope system according to any one of claims
3 to 5, wherein respective joints of the master manipulator and the slave manipulator are equipped with a rotation angle sensor or a displacement sensor, and the controlling device further comprises a magnet position detecting unit detecting the position of the first and the second external magnets by receiving information on the positions and rotated states of the respective joints of the master manipulator and the slave manipulator.
8. An endoscope system using a capsule-type endoscope advanced through a spiral motion in an organ of a human body, the endoscope system comprising: the capsule-type endoscope including a variable screw device forming spiral projections for advancing the capsule- type endoscope through right-handed and left-handed rotations, and photographing an image of an inside of the organ by being put into the human body; a magnetic force applying part rotating a first external magnet and a second external magnet that apply a magnetic force to the capsule-type endoscope from both sides out of the human body in roll, yaw and pitch directions, and simultaneously moving or fixing the position of the first and the second external magnet; and a controlling device controlling the position of the magnetic force applying part in accordance with controlling information input by the user, generating a rotating magnetic field by rotating the first and the second external magnets in association with each other, and outputting an image of the inside of the organ photographed by the capsule-type endoscope for the user's recognition.
9. The endoscope system according to claim 8, wherein the magnetic force applying part comprises a C-shape manipulator includnig: a second motor unit rotating the first external magnet and the second external magnet in roll, yaw, and pitch directions; upper and lower drivers moving the first motor unit and the second motor unit in a sliding manner, respectively; a C-shape frame connected to the upper and the lower drivers by one side thereof such that the upper and the lower drivers are at a predetermined distance to each other with respect to the human body disposed therebetween; a 2-DOF rotary joint unit moving the C-shape frame vertically or rotating the C-shape frame in roll, yaw and pitch directions; and a plane sliding joint unit reciprocating the 2-DOF rotary joint unit in back and forth directions and lateral directions .
10. The endoscope system according to claim 9, wherein the variable screw device comprises: at least one pair of rotatable rings slidable and rotatable with respect to a shaft formed at a main body of the capsule-type endoscope in a length direction; a plurality of blades interconnecting the at least one pair of rotatable rings; and an intermediate prominence interposed between each pair of the rotatable rings and equipped with a fixing protrusion which is projected in a direction toward any one of the pair of rotatable rings in accordance with a fixing commanding signal received from the controlling device, thereby selectively fixing one of the pair of rotatable rings.
11. The endoscope system according to claim 9, wherein the variable screw device comprises: at least one pair of rotatable rings slidable and rotatable with respect to a shaft formed at a main body of the capsule-type endoscope in a length direction; a plurality of blades interconnecting the at least one pair of rotatable rings; and an intermediate prominence interposed between each pair of the rotatable rings, wherein protrusion groups having a trapezoid or triangle form are further formed on contacting surfaces between the pair of rotatable rings and the intermediate prominence such that an advancing direction of the capsule-type endoscope is automatically determined according to the rotating magnetic field.
12. The endoscope system according to any one of claims
9 to 11, wherein the capsule-type endoscope includes therein a magnetic field sensor detecting a direction and a strength of magnetic forces operated from the outside, and the controlling device further comprises an endoscope position detecting unit detecting the position of the capsule- type endoscope by receiving information on the direction and the strength of the magnetic forces detected by the magnetic field sensor.
13. The endoscope system according to any one of claims 9 to 11, wherein respective joints of the C-shape manipulator are equipped with a rotation angle sensor or a displacement sensor, and the controlling device further comprises a magnet position detecting unit detecting the position of the first and the second external magnets by receiving information on the positions and rotated states of the respective joints of the C-shape manipulator.
PCT/KR2008/001723 2008-02-29 2008-03-27 Endoscope system WO2009107892A1 (en)

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CN103356152A (en) * 2013-07-15 2013-10-23 中国人民解放军第二军医大学 Capsule endoscope system with portable positioning device
CN103356154A (en) * 2013-07-15 2013-10-23 中国人民解放军第二军医大学 Multifunctional capsule endoscope system suitable for interior of alimentary canal
CN103932654A (en) * 2014-04-17 2014-07-23 上海交通大学 Capsule-endoscope control system based on permanent magnet and triaxial force sensor and control method
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