This Joystick Operated Robot Can Remotely Perform Surgery

This Joystick Operated Robot can Remotely Perform Surgery
Image: Kim Yonhoo YouTube channel

MIT engineers demonstrated the MIT surgeon robot that can perform remote surgery procedures. The demonstration showcased a robotic arm treating a simulated stroke environment.

Once this robot is approved, doctors will be able to perform surgeries remotely, acting in the crucial initial time that can make a life or death difference.

What is the MIT surgeon robot?

MIT surgeon robot is a robotic arm that is controllable with a remote joystick. It is capable of making precise movements just like humans, which helps in imitating correct movements during surgery. The doctors don’t need to be in the same room as the patient and can still perform life-saving procedures.

Xuanhe Zhao is a professor of mechanical engineering and of civil and environmental engineering at MIT. He and his team published a paper in the Science Robotics explaining the working of this assistive technology.

MIT robot surgeon
Image: Kim Yonhoo YouTube channel

The MIT surgeon robot’s movement is controlled through magnets. Its primary aim is to remotely assist in endovascular intervention which is a procedure to remove clots in the brain. Currently, the procedure is done by a doctor by using agents to guide a thin wire into the brain. The wire enters the correct vessel and breaks up the clot which caused the stroke.

How is it useful?

The scientists behind the MIT surgeon robot’s design perfected the robot to assist in endovascular surgery. The first advantage is that doctors can perform this without going to the patient’s location.

In medical emergencies, every wasted second increases the risk and can sometimes be fatal. When doctors can do these complex procedures remotely, less time would be wasted waiting for a specialist to arrive.

Another major argument is the unavailability of trained surgeons in small towns and remote places. If smaller hospitals would have the MIT surgeon robot, a doctor could administer to patients without commuting to the hospital.

In a test experiment, doctors were able to learn to maneuver the robot arm in an hour and perform an endovascular surgery. MIT surgeon robot is still in the research phase and isn’t fully operational yet. But it builds hope for the future when complex medical procedures would be possible using remotely operated robots.

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