Robotic Implant Could Help Children with Rare Disorder Eat Again
Published:18 Jan.2018    Source:Newscientist
Some children are born with their oesophagus in two segments, so the tube doesn’t connect to their stomach. A new robotic implant might help treat this serious condition, known as oesophageal atresia.
 
The robot consists of two steel rings, some sensors and a motor, all sealed in a protective waterproof skin. The device is attached to the outside of one section of the oesophagus and gently elongates it by moving the rings apart. Once the organ is long enough, the two segments can be stitched together.
 
The researchers behind the device have shown that it works in pigs, being able to lengthen the oesophagus by 77 per cent over eight to nine days. Equivalent growth in a human would be enough to fix the oesophageal atresia.