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Automation & Motion Control
Rib Spreading Tool Gets Robotic Update
6/26/2012

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Detail of a motor housing assembly of a Physcient prototype using the latest motor technology. The Assuage Smart Retractor will require little training and provide a useful tool for surgeons to help patients hurt less and heal faster.
Detail of a motor housing assembly of a Physcient prototype using the latest motor technology. The Assuage Smart Retractor will require little training and provide a useful tool for surgeons to help patients hurt less and heal faster.

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Rob Spiegel
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Blogger
Another notch in medical technology
Rob Spiegel   6/26/2012 2:42:03 PM
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We've seen huge advances in medical technology over the past decade. This is another example. Medical technology has become a very exciting are of development. This new technology for helping with chest surgery is good to see.

tekochip
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Platinum
All in the sensors
tekochip   6/27/2012 7:44:39 AM
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The real key to this device are the sensors that give the surgeon feedback on how the procedure is progressing.


Greg M. Jung
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Platinum
Closed Loop Feedback
Greg M. Jung   6/30/2012 5:34:35 PM
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Nice idea for adding closed loop feedback on the motor as an added measure to protect against unnecessary spreading force. Good example of innovative thinking on an existing product.

William K.
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Platinum
Rib spreading
William K.   6/30/2012 6:02:48 PM
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Since ribs are still being spread, probably about the same distance, my guess is that a similar amount of force is being applied.

So while the new system tool is possibly much easier to control, and certainly much more modern in fuctionality, the actual benefit has not been made clear to me. The ribs are still being spread by force, and that force is still about the same, and now a device that does not have intrinsic force feedback is provided. A hand driven jack mechanism provides instant feedback through the feel to the operator, while this system evidently provides a display of the force. Different for sure, but I don't know how much better, since the mechanism of advantages was not explained, I don't think.

tekochip
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Rib spreading
tekochip   7/1/2012 8:45:47 AM
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The real difference is that the software is controlling how much force is placed on the ribs rather than the surgeon. So, do you believe that the machine has a better feel for what's happening to the patient or the surgeon? One could argue that the machine is more objective or that the surgeon knows his patient and procedure better. The medical devices I was involved with were designed to perform a particular way, but the surgeon was always allowed to override the "standard settings", our belief being that the surgeon, much like a pilot, is always in command.

William K.
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Rib spreading
William K.   7/1/2012 5:28:38 PM
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It may be that the software can spread the ribs more gently, or something like that. My feeling is that there are a few details not mentioned in the writeup, although it is at least possible that simply having a different form factor was the large benefit. On some rare occasions the shape of a tool is more important than the actual function of that tool. Not very often, but occasionally.

mrdon
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Platinum
Re: Closed Loop Feedback
mrdon   7/22/2012 8:49:40 PM
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Sophisticated algorithms help improve closed loop feedback systems along with computer modeling can definitely improve motor motion needed for this medical application tool. Great article on medical robotics!

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