A review on model-based and model-free approaches to control soft actuators and their potentials in colonoscopy

Motahareh Asgari, Ludovic Magerand, Luigi Manfredi (Lead / Corresponding author)

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the third most common cancer worldwide and responsible for approximately 1 million deaths annually. Early screening is essential to increase the chances of survival, and it can also reduce the cost of treatments for healthcare centres. Colonoscopy is the gold standard for CRC screening and treatment, but it has several drawbacks, including difficulty in manoeuvring the device, patient discomfort, and high cost. Soft endorobots, small and compliant devices thatcan reduce the force exerted on the colonic wall, offer a potential solution to these issues. However, controlling these soft robots is challenging due to their deformable materials and the limitations of mathematical models. In this Review, we discuss model-free and model-based approaches for controlling soft robots that can potentially be applied to endorobots for colonoscopy. We highlight the importance of selecting appropriate control methods based on various parameters, such as sensor and actuator solutions. This review aims to contribute to the development of smart control strategies for soft endorobots that can enhance the effectiveness and safety of robotics in colonoscopy. These strategies can be defined based on the available information about the robot and surrounding environment, control demands, mechanical design impact and characterization data based on calibration.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1236706
Number of pages16
JournalFrontiers in Robotics and AI
Publication statusPublished - 9 Nov 2023


  • endoscopic robot
  • soft medical robots
  • soft pneumatic actuator
  • control strategies
  • model-free control
  • model-based control


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