An international consortium centered at the University of Bern developed an integrated system for robot-driven autopsy and accurate post-mortem inspections. The Virtobot is now servicing under Forim-X AG.
"Due to the rapid technological advances in imaging techniques, with a tremendous improvement in resolution since the nineties, the next logical step was an image-guided, minimally invasive autopsy – also referred to as virtopsy (virtual autopsy). Virtopsy will become a method of choice for several reasons in the future medical examination of corpses.
Virtobot can help with much of this process: By precisely moving a scanner building up an accurate 3D picture, or by performing an accurate needle biopsy during a live CT-scan without the need to expose pathologists to any radiation. Virtobot has already been used in 52 real cases, including 26 road deaths, 10 by impacts from a blunt object, six knifings, five shootings, and two throttlings.Computed tomography will replace scalpel and scissors, 3D surface scanning will replace surface description and 2D photography, and post-mortem angiography takes over from vascular preparation. The robot guided sampling guarantees a reliable sampling for histological, bacteriological and toxicological examination."
- Precise, objective and clear documentation of forensic findings for the court
- Descriptive, subjective recording of findings (the so-called autopsy report) is replaced by a uniform system of documentation through imaging, from head to toe in the three spatial dimensions
- No information is lost due to post-mortem alterations
- Calibrated, 3D documentation of findings with reliable forensic reconstructions
- Quality assurance through digital data archiving and transfer
- The digital data sets of the imaging techniques can be exchanged and evaluated by remote
- communication, thus giving rise to “teleforensics” of the future, expert opinions can be gathered quickly and easily by mouse click
- Data saved digitally can be recalled after many years to permit new forensic deductions
- Reduction of psychological trauma for the next-of-kin
- Improved judicature in cultures with low autopsy acceptance