We need surgical robots to make it very fast, cheap, and highly reliable to replace aging organs with new organs grown in vats outside the body. Automation is key to higher quality and lower error rates. With that thought in mind, some Duke researchers are developing autonomous surgical robots.
DURHAM, N.C. -- As physician-guided robots routinely operate on patients at most major hospitals, the next generation robot could eliminate a surprising element from that scenario -- the doctor.
Feasibility studies conducted by Duke University bioengineers have demonstrated that a robot -- without any human assistance -- can locate a man-made, or phantom, lesion in simulated human organs, guide a device to the lesion and take multiple samples during a single session. The researchers believe that as the technology is further developed, autonomous robots could some day perform many more simple surgical tasks.
"Earlier this year we demonstrated that a robot directed by artificial intelligence can on its own locate simulated calcifications and cysts in simulated breast tissue with high repeatability and accuracy," said Kaicheng Liang, a former student in the laboratory of Stephen Smith, director of the Duke University Ultrasound Transducer Group at the Pratt School of Engineering and senior member of the research team. "Now we have shown that the robot can sample up to eight different spots in simulated human prostate tissue."
Automation is needed in order to achieve the highest quality. So robotic surgeons don't just hold out the hope of lower costs. They'll also make fewer errors. The best human hand skilled at guiding a blade will inevitably be surpassed by a computer-controlled high precision device.
|Share |||Randall Parker, 2010 July 21 10:38 PM Robots Medicine|