Medical robotics, which we understand as a whole set of methods for creating cybernetic systems and knowing their technical characteristics and control capabilities, is a rather young and important area of research in recent decades. In this area of knowledge, the achievements of many related disciplines have been combined.
The technical systems that are being developed are capable not only of assisting physicians in making the right diagnosis, structuring and facilitating the maintenance of medical records, but also of carrying out surgical interventions on internal human organs, as well as improving the quality of patient rehabilitation.
Complex robotic systems are devices that allow to simulate characteristics and control variants corresponding to some functions of the human body in the most adequate way.
Currently, two problems remain relevant. The first one is to understand philosophically the types of medical robotics as one of the most innovative and interdisciplinary sciences, to determine the basis and ways of its development, as well as the possibilities of research process management. The main thing is to use the potential of a particular science as a technology implemented in practice.
Advances in robotics in medicine
Medical technology has gone a long way these days. This has made it possible to significantly change the approach in the treatment of patients. New technologies have made it possible to create medical robots that were previously only dreamed of by fantasists and enthusiast engineers.
Currently, a number of engineering problems have been solved, both in the design and use of micro-robots. Let’s consider the so-called “biotorpedoes” as an example. This is titanium fraction enclosed in a special aluminum shell. When the aluminum shell comes into contact with water, a reaction begins, during which hydrogen and aluminum hydroxide are formed on the surface of the ball.
This chemical reaction facilitates the movement of the shot at a velocity of 150 its diameters per second. The possibility to develop such a chemical engine has appeared due to a special substance – gallium, which prevents the formation of aluminum oxide.
This engine can run for about 5 minutes and has a maximum underwater power reserve of 900 mm. An external magnetic field is used to control the movement of such a smart shot. Already now, such smart torpedoes can be used to deliver medicines, for example, through the human lymphatic system.
Robotics problems in medicine
Even today, robotics has a significant impact on the vector of medicine. This trend will not only continue over time, but also accelerate science-driven progress. Today, there are many high-tech mechanisms that complement the possibilities in both surgery and therapy. But, unfortunately, we will not be able to create fully autonomous devices in the near future because of the high risks.
There are many difficulties. For example, independent robotic surgeons need to be trained not only in all the subtleties and laws of normal, pathological, topographic anatomy, but also using artificial intelligence to have the ability to react quickly and work on the situation. At this stage of development, we can afford to develop auxiliary robots for surgery so far.
Robotics in medicine
The improvement of surgical instruments was a breakthrough in minimally invasive surgery and the success of da Vinci robots confirms this. The small surface area of the surgical attachments and the shortest operation time allow minimizing the risk of insemination of the surgical field with pathological flora. This fact greatly reduces the number of complications and the number of days of hospitalization.
As it has already been mentioned, robotics has started to develop rapidly and robotic surgery is entering a period of active growth. Intuitive Surgical has managed to carry out more than ten complex upgrades since the launch of its first robot, the surgeon da Vinci.
The first studies that compared the medical efficacy and financial feasibility of classical and robotic cystectomy showed significant efficiency when using surgical robots. However, subsequent studies show a relatively small number of advantages of robotic surgery over classical surgery.
So what’s the future for surgical robot manufacturers? Microsurgery and surgeries through physiological openings are very important things for modern medicine, which, thanks to the world’s minds, are gradually and inevitably introduced into ordinary medicine. Robots will give us unsurpassed accuracy, speed and quality of work of the doctor.
All these amazing possibilities will eventually lead to the creation of new methods of research and treatment that we can only imagine and dream of now. Surgeons dream of working with tactile sensitivity systems that can transmit sensory information to a doctor during surgery.
Recently created liquid robots at Massachusetts University of Technology are capable of helping doctors today. In a liquid state, getting into the right part of the body and then under the influence of a magnetic field, going into a solid state to perform the simplest surgical manipulation.
Technology is not magic. It takes a lot of time, patience and imagination for the research to produce results. There was a huge and insanely expensive, and its capabilities were more modest than a modern pocket calculator. If at that time the idea of a computer hadn’t developed, it would have been terrifying to think about what our world would be like without computers that are already familiar to everyone.
What about other robots? Auxiliary robots play a huge role in modern medicine and simply in our lives. Such devices are still being developed and improved, but despite this some solutions are being successfully used all over the world. They bring indispensable help to healthcare workers and their patients.
However, there is always another side to the coin – the cost of such solutions. In the future, we need to lobby for lower costs and government subsidies for the purchase of such equipment. It is also necessary to continue the search for new innovative materials that can reduce the cost of production, maintenance and modernization of such useful tools.