New development for the da Vinci

A February TED talk was released more recently, Catherine Mohr, director of Medical Research at Intuitive Surgical gave an excellent presentation titled "Surgery's past, present and robotic future"on the history of traditional surgery, major innovations and techniques leading to the da Vinci remote teleoperation. She showed some videos highlighting what Intuitive is thinkig about as future of surgery.
One important issue is in-vivo pathology. With certain indicator chemicals (fluorescents, bioluminescents especially) it is possible to mark and light up e.g. tumor cells, and then make them apparent to the surgeon. Use of special wavelength light can also help highlighting types of tissues. With this technique it is also possible to check the blood flow in vessels after a bypass right before the closure. A good article on the issue can be found here.
another promising area is the deployment of laparoscopic super-microscopes with felxible shafts that will allow to look into single cells during the operation. Robot would be able to give a lot more stable and controllable image.
Finally, Intuitive's prototype single inscision surgical (SILS) tool has been presented. It offers great manipulation in a limited space through the straucture similar to the snake-like robot developed at Johns Hopkins. Intuitive moves on the SILS and eventually to NOTES surgery. They also reported on this in April:
"In other developments, this quarter we acquired the assets of a Silicon Valley company, NeoGuide Systems that has been developing robotics for medical applications. Included in the purchase of patents and applications with early issue and filing dates covering basic concepts and the design and control of multi-link snake robotic systems for use in medicine. The addition of NeoGuide’s intellectual property to our organically developed technology and in-license technology from groups like Hansen Medical, Luna Innovations, SurgiQuest, and USGI Medical has established a strong IP base for Intuitive in single-incision and potentially NOTES robotics."
(Source: Seeking alpha)


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