2016 U.S. Robotics Roadmap

The US Robotics Roadmap is an important document forged by renowned experts of the field, and updated regularly (after 2009, in 2013). The most recent version (November 7, 2016) has some updates regarding the field of surgical robots: 

"Motivating ScenarioA pre-operative diagnostic test indicates that a patient may have cancer in an internal organ. The patient receives a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scan, from which the existence and location of cancerous tissue is confirmed. The case is referred to a surgeon, who reviews digital models of the patient’s anatomy based on the pre-operative images. An automated planning system uses these images as well as local and national surgical databases to guide the surgeon toward the most appropriate approach to the surgery. On the day before the procedure, the surgeon rehearses the surgery several times using a patient-specific simulation, visualizes the spatial extent of the cancer and develops an optimal surgical plan. On surgery day, a miniature robotic instrument is introduced into the patient’s body through a very small incision. An imaging and navigation system guides the surgeon through the surgery and provides her with three-dimensional views of the anatomy, with cancerous tumors clearly highlighted. The system gives her the sense that she is inside of the patient’s body and is able to see and feel the tissue while delicately removing all traces of the cancer. During the surgery, the navigation system tracks progress and automatically provides an optimal view of the anatomy as the surgeon works – acting as a digital assistant. The end result: the cancerous tissue is removed with very little impact on surrounding healthy tissue and the patient can leave the hospital on the same day with little pain and scarring, with the burden of cancer lifted from the patient’s mind.
The development of surgical robots is motivated by the desire to:
  • enhance the effectiveness of a procedure by coupling information to action in the operating room or interventional suite, and
  • transcend human physical limitations in performing surgery and other interventional procedures, while still affording human control over the procedure.
  • Two decades after the first reported robotic surgical procedure, surgical robots for some procedures.
  • Surgical robots are beginning to realize their potential in terms of improved accuracy and visualization, as well as enabling of new procedures."

Source: A Roadmap for US Robotics From Internet to Robotics 2016 Edition


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