Robotics have been applied in medicine for ages. Its introduction to medicine, specifically in surgeries, has changed the field forever. Moreover, in the future, specialists are connecting the robotics development with a possibility to treat diseases that are incurable at present.
The application of robots in many regards is connected with the development of linear actuators with feedback. These actuators enable top precision of movement and thus, the application for surgical purposes.
Da Vinci, or the Origins of Robotics in Surgery
You might believe that robots are an absolutely recent invention. However, this is rather far from the truth. The first robot, the da Vinci system, has been used already for several decades. This is a system of highly advanced mechanisms and tools that allow not only to perform a specific surgery but to control all the vital signs of a patient.
During an intrusion, an experienced surgeon controls the movement of tiny mechanisms. They actually are used to perform all the incisions during the intrusion. A highly-magnified image is delivered to a computer monitor. It allows the surgeon to see all that is happening and to control the tools used for the intrusion.
The system consists of a:
- Surgeon console: a surgeon uses the console to control the surgery process;
- Patient cart: it houses the monitor that enables the surgeon to control the process and tools used to make the surgery;
- Vision cart: it enables communication between all the systems. It also provides 3D imaging.
The system is being improved constantly to enable top precision levels and minimize any risks connected with a surgical intrusion.
Robotics for Prosthetics Purposes
One of the newer advancements is the application of robots for prosthetics purposes. Now, limbs can be made that function better than human limbs. Robotic limbs can not only track their own position in 3D and adjust their own joints up to 700 times a second.
For such limbs, bionic skin is developed and neural systems are made. While all these advancements haven’t found a wide application in the daily lives of patients, but once, they will be implemented widely. It will be an immense advancement in the medical field.
Endoscopy Bots Will End One of the Most Unpleasant Procedures Ever
With a wide implementation of tiny endoscopic bots, endoscopy in its traditional form will be eliminated forever. Small devices will travel in the intestine of a patient to collect all the needed information. All the data are delivered directly to the PC monitor.
Such devices are expected to enable the diagnostics of medical diseases at much earlier stages. Thus, in some cases, the needed intrusions will be less invasive, and in some cases, they will be prevented at all.
One more development worth mentioning is capsule endoscopies. They are tested already. A small capsule will be able to carry a drug to a specific part of the body. It shall eliminate many side effects and allow more targeted treatment.
Robotic Assistants and Nurses
We completely agree that without doctors, medicine would not exist. However, those are nurses who are around constantly. Their work is not less valuable than the work of a medical doctor. We also shall admit that nurses are mostly overworked and in lack of time.
That’s why here robots would be handy indeed. Many procedures are based on repetitive movements and specific algorithms. Once programmed and tested, a robotic nurse can perform all the procedures impeccably.
It will facilitate the work of nurses by allowing them to concentrate on patients that need a special care and non-standard approaches. Moreover, such robotic nurses can be available day and night without a single sign of exhaustion or tiredness. And they can prepare the medications with a much higher precision level. While robotic nurses cannot replace human nurses completely but, in many regards, they can simplify daily tasks significantly.
We would say without exaggeration that the medical applications of robots are the most important for humans. Robots allow us to do many things that were not available before. With robotic arms and systems, minimally invasive surgical intrusions became possible. It helps to reduce immensely the risks typical for any surgical intrusion. And some intrusions would be impossible if robotic systems were not applied.
Besides surgical intrusions, robots can be applied for many more purposes. Just some of them are such as targeted drug delivery, biopsy taking, patient-friendly endoscopy. New systems are developed to provide patients with artificial limbs and even exoskeletons that can provide the same functionality as human body parts.
All these advancements are incredible. Just a decade ago, it would be impossible to believe that some things are possible. But we believe that in the closest future, we will be able to take advantage of more incredible robotics developments in the medical field.
Author BIO: Hayley Mann is a technology enthusiast specializing in automation methods of ergonomics devices. Her engineering background helps her to create interesting articles on technical topics, making them understandable for all readers.