SRI -- part II

SRI has not stopped doing cool things. Among those, the free-flying of the M7 in 2007 stands out, since no one else is seeming to repeat their trick: putting a teleoperated surgical robot on board of a parabolic flight (at least). Roumor has it, they were offered the opportunity quite unexpectedly to fill up some experiment space on board of a NASA DC-9 flight. As described in the previous post, they were focusing on observing the human adoptation to weightlessness at the control, and how acceleration compensation can help. The results were translated to the on Earth environment of a speeding ambulance car. (Zero-gravity is fun: when I got the first, unedited copy of the video, I was asked not to distribute it widely, since it is apparent, they were having tremendous amusement along the experiments.)

A more recent project at SRI is Robotic Laser Tissue Welding. They are looking at the technology as a means to circumvent the need for suturing. "Telerobotic suturing is especially challenging at longer latencies which would be encountered during robotic combat casualty care.  The TATRC funded experiments used a robot to uniformly deliver laser energy to close a laceration. Two methods were demonstrated for direct tissue welding:  bovine serum albumin / hyaluronate acid solders and chitosan films. Robot controlled tissue welding of lacerations in explanted pig eyes decreased the total time of tissue apposition from a manual suturing from approximately 8 minutes to 3 minutes. Laser welded tissue had similar burst pressure as manually sutured tissue.  These experiments demonstrated that robotic laser tissue welding has potential value and further research is indicated."Read more about it here.

A good year ago, SRI made it to the headlines with its new Taurus robot. Claimed to rely mostly on da Vinci technology (especially for the cable drive and the control), this small bomb diffusing robot has a lot to do with the ancestros. The system is quite neet in real, and the whole robot was designed to be mountable on the tip of another, more expensive robot with a long are, allowing to keep the most precious structure apart from the imminent danger. Seeeing Taurus in real is posible, since it has made some public aprrearances. (More on the Taurus: here and here.)


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