The main purpose of the development of Caps-Sim is to create a comprehensive simulation environment for magnetically-driven active endoscopic capsules. Caps-Sim can be easily used to test new vision and navigation concepts applied to active endoscopic capsule applications. Caps-Sim is a simulator but also represents in a graphical environment the real motion and trajectory of an active magnetic endoscopic capsule system.
Robot simulators are fast, efficient, and cheap ways to test the efficiency, safety, and robustness of new concepts and algorithms. They can provide robust physics engine simulation, customized graphical interfaces, and high quality graphics rendering. In this proposal, the development of a virtual reality interface (Caps-Sim) for magnetically-driven active endoscopic capsules is described. The simulator intends to provide researchers with an environment to test their design concepts, as well as vision and navigation algorithms applied to endoscopic capsule procedures.
Caps-Sim will be made up of four main components: i) haptic station; ii) vision station; iii) control station; and iv) human machine interface (HMI). The haptic station provides the operator with the force information from virtual or remote environments, and is also used to read the operator’s hand motion. In order to provide image and force feedback, the vision station is used to capture images and generate 3D mapping and computer “virtual interaction” forces. The capsule movements are controlled using the control station. The HMI runs a simulation engine where the capsule device and its main components are modeled and visualized. The magnetic actuation of the capsule is performed in the HMI simulation engine. The HMI also has a display unit where the colon images are visualized and rendered to the user using a 3D virtual reality glass. The proposed version of Caps-Sim provides a simulator to develop and test endoscopic capsules main functions: i) capsule tele-operation; ii) haptic feedback for capsule navigation; iii) 3D virtual reality navigation; and iv) region of interest (ROI) tracking. The proposed Caps-Sim is modular and can be applied to any capsule type or any other robotic endoscopes regardless of its underlying technology.