5 Robots that are helping to change healthcare for the better.

By Stacy Norman
With an already overworked healthcare service, robots could bring a new dynamic to the team. Robotics is a new advanced branch of technology, covering...

With an already overworked healthcare service, robots could bring a new dynamic to the team.

Robotics is a new advanced branch of technology, covering engineering, AI, ML, mechatronics, Computer science and nanotechnology. 

So what can a robot do that a human can't? Robots can process data quickly and more efficiently while taking the necessary actions with little error or no error.

1. da Vinci

The da Vinci System has been around for nearly 18 years and has continued to develop its capabilities year after year.

da Vinci is a system that blurs the lines between "robot" and "medical tool", as the da Vinci is a device that is always under the control of a surgeon.

The da Vinci system allows precision in every operation undertaken. The system causes minimum invasion by using just a few tiny incisions which are aided by an advanced set of instruments including a 3D high-definition view of the surgical area. The process helps control bleeding, allows for faster healing time, reduces the risk of infections, and the patients experience fewer complications compared to patients who have open or laparoscopic surgery.

2. Actuated and sensory prostheses

The prosthetics field has now become so advanced that an amputees mind can control it.

At the MIT Biomechatronics lab, researchers have created gyroscopically actuated robotic limbs that can track their position in three-dimensional space which can adjust joints upwards of 750 times per second.

The Biomechatronics Group is one of over 20 research groups within the MIT Media Lab. The mission of the group is "First, we seek to restore function to individuals who have impaired mobility due to trauma or disease through research and development. Second, we develop technologies that augment human performance beyond what nature intended.

Objectives are met by combining the scientific discipline of organismal and cellular neuromechanics with the technological discipline of bionic device design. Our research staff and students include biomechanists, neuroscientists, and biophysicists as well as electrical, mechanical, biomedical, and tissue engineers".

On top of this, The Biomechatronics Group has developed bionic skins and neural implant systems. This new technology works as an interface with the nervous system, which allows the user to receive tactile feedback from the prosthetic and volitionally control, just like a healthy limb.

3. Endoscopy-Bot

An endoscopy is an uncomfortable and delicate procedure which involves inserting a small camera or tool on a long wire through a natural opening in the body to a search for disease, damage or foreign objects. 

New improvements have been made to the procedure by companies such as  Medineering. Developments include using thin, flexible robots that are driven to the required area by the doctor—allowing for accuracy and precision throughout the procedure. 

Another form of endoscopy can be found in the form of a tablet. The patient swallows the tablet while the doctor follows it through their digestive tract. The tablet gathers essential data and pictures on its travel, giving the doctor a better understanding of any internal conditions.

4. Exoskeletons

Is this the miracle to help paralysed people walk again?

Exoskeletons are wearable devices that are placed on the human body to act as an amplifier to augment, reinforce or restore human performance.

They are most commonly used during rehabilitation after a brain or spinal cord injury. Exoskeletons provide extra support to the weakened muscles which have become fragile due to the injury and recovery time.

5. Targeted therapy micro-robot

These new types of medical robots look like a promising technology. These micro-bots are used to localise drugs or other therapies to a specific area within the body, by using near-microscopic mechanicals.

The micro-bot can deliver radiation or can be used to reduce the side effects of the medication by only admitting it to the desired area.



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