Medical robots (a frequent topic here) are popping up everywhere, whether they're being used in surgeries, assisting paralyzed people, or monitoring remote patients. The latest one helps cardiologists in a type of surgery called percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), which uses stents and balloon catheters to restore blood flow to blocked arteries.
The FDA has approved Corindus Vascular Robotics' CorPath 200 for PCI surgery. Like other robotic assistants, the CorPath 200 gives surgeons very precise control over fine-tuned tasks, such as manipulating coronary guidewires and stents. It lets them move surgical devices and tools in increments as small as 1mm in blood vessels only 3mm or 4mm in diameter.
A robotic system helps cardiologists with PCI surgery, a procedure that restores blood flow to blocked arteries. (Source: Corindus Vascular Robotics)
The system also helps interventional cardiologists remain at a safe distance from the radiation produced by the X-ray guidance systems they use to perform these procedures. To protect themselves, cardiologists have worn restrictive lead aprons weighing up to 40 pounds, but the physical stress of wearing them can lead to back pain, fatigue, and orthopedic injuries. It's also not clear from the research that's been done whether this protection is adequate over a career that involves repeated exposures.
The CorPath 200 lets surgeons control placement of coronary guidewires, stents, and balloon catheters from a lead-lined cockpit. The surgeon is seated in front of monitors that show the angiography screen. This setup may reduce physical fatigue and head, neck, and back strain. (Watch a video demonstrating the robot here.)
As the basis for submitting its application to the FDA, Corindus conducted a multi-center study, the CorPath PRECISE Trial. The company says this study resulted in an overall procedure success rate of 97.6 percent. Also, in 98.8 percent of patients, PCI surgery could be completed without converting to manual PCI and without device-related complications. The study also found the system reduced radiation exposure by 95 percent.
Corindus says that it expects to use the system's open platform technology and intellectual property to address other types of vascular surgery, including peripheral, neuro, and structural heart applications.
Good point, Ann. So the surgeons need to know how to use the tool, but they don't need to know the technology behind the tool. The surgeons don't need to become robotics experts, and the engineers don't need to become surgeons.
Rob, I don't think surgeons are any different from the rest of us in this regard. Like typical end users, surgeons don't need to learn the technology behind the tools, just like most of us don't need to learn the tech behind driving a car or sending an email on a portable computing device.
Thanks, mrdon. BTW, there's a typo in that link. It should be
http:spectrum.ieee. org/automation/robotics/medical-robots/using robots-to-train-the-surgeons-of-tomorrow
I love the idea--surgeons originally helped engineers devise surgical robotic tools. Now those robots, in turn, help train surgeons.
Hi Ann, Carol Reiley is a young surgical roboticist who runs a website called TinkerBelle Labs. Here's an excellent paper on using robots to train surgeons of tomorrow she co-authored.
Jack, You can see why it is called Robot Assist. It makes for more precise motion and consistent movements than a human surgeon can create on their own. The gaming part is interesting because it shows how important user interfaces are becoming -- a layer of software that is removing the complexities for the user. Good stuff.
I agree, apresher, that the precise control is extremely valuable. It also takes some of the fear away that a super-star surgeon could lose his job over a relatively minor (for the rest of us) injury to the hands.
Funny you should mention video gaming, I used to work with large mobile industrial equipment. About 5-8 years ago there was a suggestion that they could be controlled with off-the-shelf gaming controllers. I imagine that they would have lasted about one day in that environment, though.
Don't be too sure about cooperation. A friend of mine works for a hospital that does heart surgery. Two of the surgeons refuse to discuss the statistics of their surgeries with anyone without MD after their name. An arrogance that stifles any kind of improvement.
Are they robots or androids? We're not exactly sure. Each talking, gesturing Geminoid looks exactly like a real individual, starting with their creator, professor Hiroshi Ishiguro of Osaka University in Japan.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.