Monday, May 19, 2008

Canadian Neuro-Arm Robot Surgeon Precision

To achieve radically longer lives, we will need to engineer ourselves to be more resilient to damage and disease, but we will always need the ability to intervene safely with radical surgical tools.

Canadian researchers developed the Neuro-Arm robot, a robot compatible of MRI imaging so that a surgeon can operate on a tumour with real-time feedback.
A surgeon is able to control the robot using levers at a computer workstation in a room next to the surgery. Sutherland said human ability to manipulate robotic surgery techniques can be credited, at least in part, to the explosion in popularity of video games.

"We would all agree that our young children who have become immersed in video games represent the future generation of surgeons," he said. "[They] will be experienced in the integration of hand controllers with images and …will have enhanced hand-eye co-ordination with highly developed spatial orientation."

The technology works in conjunction with real-time magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, to provide surgeons with unprecedented detail and the control to manipulate tools at a microscopic scale for operations ranging from repairs of blood vessels to removal of brain tumours. __Source
The successful MRI-guided removal of a brain tumour in Calgary by Neuro-Arm suggests that robotic surgeons will gain more and more use over time.

Even if our bodies are modified to last for hundreds of years, we will always be subject to accidents and "break-through disease" which is somehow resistant to our life extension programming. In those situations, we will need the best medical and surgical care possible.

In the new robo-surgeons, we can see the nascent form of a future "robo-doc" that is capable of operating far from human medical experts. If humans are to be able to travel and live in the remotest outposts of our solar system, we will necessarily have communities inaccessible to the full range of highly trained human specialists. In such situations, robotic surrogates will be a vital part of the team.



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