"The future of surgery is not about blood and guts; the future of surgery is about bits and bytes.”
/Dr. Richard Satava/

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Stanford workshop--reminder

Those friends living in the Bay area, do not forget, we will have the Medical Robotics State of the Art workshop next Monday!
For more details, see the previous blog post!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Autonomous robots are coming to the US hospitals

Patient visiting robots are on the rise. The RP-VITA Telemedicine Robot was announced last summer. "The FDA approved the country's first human-interacting autonomous robot for hospitals on Thursday. The RP-VITA, made by iRobot (best known to consumers as the makers of the Roomba) and InTouch Health, is a human-sized telepresence robot which allows doctors to remotely interact with hospital patients. The robot can navigate hospital corridors autonomously, while medical professionals talk and interact with patients through a special iPad app. The Food and Drug Administration has given the RP-VITA full 510(k) clearance for hospital use." In Touch Health now offers a full range of telepresence robots.

Source: fastcompany.com

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Neurostar drill and injection robot for DBS

A friend of mine called my attention to this cute little neurosurgical robot system from Neurostar GmbH, said to be capable of replacing some of the big guys, such as NeuroMate. 
"The Drill & Microinjection Robot allows highprecision injection without recalibrating after drilling. After loading the syringe you can perform injections in subsequent animals without tool exchange and without recalibration - all in one step." See more in their brochure! Highlighted features:       
  • One Step Injection & Drilling     
  • Time Saving    
  • High-Throughput Experiments     
  • Atlas Integration     
  • Motorized Stereotaxic     
  • Highprecision Skulcup Cutout Drilling     
  • Multisite Microinjection     
  • Fully software driven  
  • Micrometer targeting accuracy

Image credit: Neurostar

Friday, January 11, 2013

The neuroArm - SYMBIS robot

Recently I came across some fine publication on the re-branded neuroArm robot. They introduce new aspects of the great engineering work behind the system. 
There is a nice summary on the robot's history on IMRIS' website:
  • 2002: Funded through several Canadian economic development resources, Project neuroArm was established
  • 2006: Initial patent filed and approved in 2007 (6 additional patents are pending)
  • April 13, 2007: The robot was officially unveiled to the world
  • May 12, 2008: neuroArm used for the first time to remove a brain tumor
  • Feb. 2010: IMRIS acquires NeuroArm technology
  • Oct. 2011: Robotic surgery was a highlight at the Congress of Neurological Surgeons (CNS)
  • July 2012: IMRIS unveils neurosurgical robotics program under the SYMBIS Surgical System name
  • August 2012: IMRIS submits initial FDA 510K filing for the SYMBIS Surgical System
By now, the "clinical integration of neuroArm into surgical procedure has been developed over a prospective series of 35 cases with varying pathology. Surgeons used a graded approach to introducing neuroArm into surgery, with routine dissec-tion of the tumor-brain interface occurring over the last 15 cases. The use of neuroArm for routine dissection shows that robotic technology can be successfully integrated into microsurgery. Karnofsky performance status scores were significantly improved postoperatively and at 12-week follow-up."
The publications also disclose some future development directions: "The workstation has the potential to control all operating room technologies and eventually to connect the surgeon to the Internet to access global medical knowledge or to communicate directly with experts at other institutions during surgery. Additionally, the workstation can be used for case rehearsal, which has positive implications for surgeon training, and will develop personalized case cards, making surgical preparations more efficient. Surgeons will be able to gain experience from a virtual environment. Surgeries could be recorded and replayed. All elements of surgery will become measurable; eg, the amount of pressure a surgeon needs to use to cut through a particular type of tissue will be."

Image credit: Neurosurgery

Monday, January 7, 2013

Medical Robot Workshop at Stanford - Call for participation

Here is your chance to listen to the good old folks presenting the state-of-the art in medical and surgical robotics. Quick facts: 
"The IEC TC62/SC62A & ISO TC184/SC2 Joint Working Group JWG9 on Medical electrical equipment and systems using robotic technology is holding its third International event following on from events in Wellington, New Zealand (on 19 January 2011) and Milan, Italy (on 3 July 2012) to present the state of the art in medical robots and explore the need for standardization in the rapidly changing area of robotics.
There is considerable activity in developing non-industrial robots for new environments and personal care and medical applications are the main drivers for the new types of service robots which are emerging for non-manufacturing applications.

Nota bene: The ISO TC184/SC2 (Robots and robotics devices) Technical Committee has the following work groups:
  • WG 1: Vocabulary and characteristics of robots, Convenor Prof Soon-Geul Lee, Kyung-Hee University, South Korea.
  • WG 3: Industrial robot safety, Convenor Jeff Fryman, Robotics Industries Association, USA
  • WG 7: Personal care robot safety, Convenor Prof Gurvinder S Virk, CLAWAR Association, UK, and University of Gävle &KTH, Sweden.
  • JWG9: Medical electrical equipment and systems using robotic technology, Convenor Prof Gurvinder S Virk, CLAWAR Association, UK and University of Gävle &KTH, Sweden.
  • WG 8: Service robots, Convenor Prof Seungbin Moon, Sejong University, South Korea.
The aim of the colloquium is to bring these activities to the attention of the medical and related communities in USA so that full participation of all the stakeholders can be facilitated and future cooperation ensured."

If you are interested, please fill the Application form

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Retro: the first trans-Atlantic surgery

We have already covered the Lindbergh operation with a Zeus robot back in time, but there is some space for nostalgia around new year. Recently, I came across the press release of the world's first trans-Atlantic telesurgery: “OPERATION LINDBERGH - The Surgical Act Crosses the Atlantic!" It provided some new details about the event and the preceding experiments, but more interestingly, it gave a list of Future Challenges that are still very much applicable after 12 years: 

"This technological sea change in the world of surgery ushers in a host of possible future developments:
  • To start with, it makes possible collaborative telesurgery, one of the most positive concrete applications of "globalization".
  • It also revolutionizes the concept of surgical training, since a sort of "umbilical cord" could be created between a young surgeon and more experienced teacher-surgeons.
  • It would also make it possible for developing nations to benefit from the expertise of world-renowned surgeons in order to enhance care in their country.
  • This breakthrough also makes it possible to imagine future surgical procedures being done in space.
  • Finally, by combining virtual reality techniques with pre-operatory simulations, this could lead to an entirely new era of semi-automated or even automated telesurgery."
You can learn more about the Lindbergh Operation on WebSurge.
Image credit: IRCAD