Robotics Science

This incredible video shows an example of “tele-surgery” techniques with the example of a surgeon remotely controlling robotic arms to fold a penny-size origami crane. Although the precision is pretty amazing, we wonder how much the average citizen will want a robot (even though it is remotely attached to a doctor) poking around inside their intestines.

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10 thoughts on “Origami folding robot will also remove your spleen

  1. My understanding is that for some surgerys using tele-robotics, even when the doctor is there in the room, winds up being a great advantage (much like orthroscopic surgery). The example I have heard the most of in this area is that the local hospital is using it for prostate surgery, almost eliminating the problems with impotence that often result otherwise.

    If I needed it, I would *rather* have a robotic extension to the doctor, if it meant that I get to still have *my parts* work afterword.

  2. The advantages of systems like this would be enormous. These devices can be truly sterilized, as opposed to a surgeon’s hands, and can be inserted into the patient through very small incisions.

  3. Wow! It wasn’t until the very end that I realized how small the origami was!
    At first I thought the thing was several inches… but it is actually smaller than a penny!

    Very cool.

  4. Yes at first I thought “how it’s still a bit clumsy”, but I was surprised by the size of the origami at the end :-)

    It also looks very steady, even though it is controlled by a human. There must be some amount of filtering in the process.

  5. I had the rare opportunity to sit down and operate the machine that they have at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, back when it was first installed in 2001. I didn’t get a lot of time with it, but I was able to steer the waldoes and pick up tiny pieces of wire and thread with their grippers. (Alas, I didn’t have enough time–people behind me were waiting in line–to try and tie a knot.)

    The advantages to patients are almost incalculable. For heart surgery they make three small incisions and go in between your ribs, rather than use a saw to open up your ribcage. The Mayo surgeons were still working out the details of prostate removal when I tried the machine, but as another commenter said, men will come out of that with a lot more sexual function than they used to.

    Although there was no tactile feedback that I knew how to detect, the movement of the waldoes was extremely steady, and there was no latency that I could see. The mechanical engineering in that machine was nothing short of astonishing. By the time most of us will need its services, it will be a whole lot better, and I’m real good with that.

  6. I had the rare opportunity to sit down and operate the machine that they have at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, back when it was first installed in 2001. I didn’t get a lot of time with it, but I was able to steer the waldoes and pick up tiny pieces of wire and thread with their grippers. (Alas, I didn’t have enough time–people behind me were waiting in line–to try and tie a knot.)

    The advantages to patients are almost incalculable. For heart surgery they make three small incisions and go in between your ribs, rather than use a saw to open up your ribcage. The Mayo surgeons were still working out the details of prostate removal when I tried the machine, but as another commenter said, men will come out of that with a lot more sexual function than they used to.

    Although there was no tactile feedback that I knew how to detect, the movement of the waldoes was extremely steady, and there was no latency that I could see. The mechanical engineering in that device was nothing short of astonishing. By the time most of us will need its services, it will be a whole lot better, and I’m real good with that.

  7. At the risk (okay, the certainty) of tooting my own horn, here’s a little feature article I wrote recently, covering robotics for a medical magazine: http://www.mdnglive.com/articles/PC_Robots_Everywhere – no subscription required.

    What’s amazing about medical robots is not this particular unit, but the near-ubiquity of devices like it. This one’s been around for nearly a decade, and it’s hardly the first medical robot. That honor probably belongs to some anonymous, largely unseen device cranking through samples in a diagnostic lab. For my money, the coolest robot so far is the one that can operate inside an MRI machine (with a multi-Tesla magnetic field). Think about that engineering challenge for a few minutes, then read the article for the answers that have actually worked.

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