Medical robots today and tomorrow

We born, we live our lives and at the end - we die. That's the truth. However, the quality of our lives often correlates with our health. Generally, the healthier we are the more we can achieve - thus the happier we can be.

That's why health has always been an issue to deal with. Nowadays medicine has gone a very long way compared to the time of Hippocrates of Kos. Now humans are able to do very complicated surgeries, invent cures for various illnesses and so on. The question arises - can medicine go further and in what ways?

The answer on the first part of the question is "definitely". However the answers to the second part can differ. There are many notable fields which could change the course of medical history for example - stem cells. Still, I'm sure that the field of robotics and robotics-related fields such as medical bionics and biomechatronics will play a big role in medicine in near future.

Actually, many exciting things are happening in these fields right now. So, in this section of my site I will try to shed some light on questions about medical robots and robotics related fields in medicine now and in the future.

The surgery

Medical robots that can do surgeries sounds marvelous, right? All existing surgery robots on this day are actually cleverly made manipulators controlled by competent doctors. There are some issues with the level of Artificial Intelligence needed to do surgeries independently but that can be achieved some day.

Nowadays, there are two fields where surgical robots are being developed and tested. One is telerobotics which enables a doctor to do a surgery at a distance. The other field is minimally invasive surgery - surgery done without making large cuts.

The da Vinci robot surgery system is one great example of robotics use for surgery purposes. More than thousand units are being used world-wide. Read more on robot surgery in general.

Robots in hospitals

Hospitals are a bit like factories. There are many mundane tasks. For example - carrying things around, moving samples from one apparatus to another, cleaning. There are also tasks that require some strength. For example - lifting and moving patients.

I assume you got the point - there are many tasks which could be done by medical robots. There has been some development in this field - there are robots intended for laboratory uses, there are AGV's (Automated Guided Vehicle) intended for hospital use.

As far as I know most of these are in a testing stage. However, it is surely a doable task. Read more on robots in hospitals.

Therapeutic robots

Medical robots used in therapies. The idea behind this is quite similar to therapies with animals only robots are more predictable.Read more on therapeutic robots.

Bionic prosthetics

This is a robotics-related field. The outcome can't actually be considered a robot but the disciplines included are quite similar - AI, electronics, mechanics and more. This field strives to develop robotic prostheses for humans.

The great dream is that one day there will be bionic arms and bionic legs just as good and functional (or even better) as our natural limbs. The recent development in this field is quite astounding. Several companies operate in this field - Ossur, Otto Bock and Touch Bionics are a few among those I'm aware of.

Nano-robots

Maybe this will be possible in the future. The idea is to develop devices as small as a few nanometers, hence the name – nano-robots. These little devices could then be used in different mind-blowing ways. For example, to fix a broken bone or to deliver medication to the exact place needed or to exterminate cancer cells.

The possibilities are limited only by imagination. By now, nano-robots are in research and development stage so it actually IS imagination.

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