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Clinical Robots

The realms of computer science and its niche subfields have a multitude of medicinal applications. As such, technology in healthcare is continuously being advanced. A prominent example of this is robotic surgery or robot-assisted surgery.

This has been adopted in numerous hospitals particularly in the US and Europe, as doctors can perform complex and intricate procedures with more ease. Doctors also have more control and flexibility, improving precision greatly especially for less invasive surgeries which involve tiny incisions and cuts.

How it Works

The most common robotic surgical system – the Da Vinci surgical system – utilises mechanical arms with surgical instruments attached to it. One of the arms acts as a camera and gives the surgeon a high-definition view of the surgical site on a separate computer console. The camera is a sensor – for certain procedures, it may be equipped with MRI and CT scanners. This is where the surgeon controls the robotic arm to assist with the surgery too. Precision is improved upon with this system because the surgical area is magnified to about 10 times relative to what the naked human eye can see. Additionally, the instruments have a greater range of motion in comparison to a human hand.

Example Procedures

Examples of surgeries that use robots include

  • Cardiac surgery

  • Colorectal surgery

  • General surgery e.g. gallbladder surgery or bariatric surgery

  • Gynecology surgery

  • Head and neck surgery

  • Thoracic surgery

  • Urology surgery

The Future

Researchers have since developed clinical robots even further. Capsule robots are extremely small endoscopes used primarily for surgeries, diagnostic tests, and drug delivery. Due to their size, they cause less tissue damage and faster accessibility with great freedom of movement. It’s controlled with magnetic interactions. Another example is microbots. This is a relatively new technology that engineers are attempting to develop – a robot that could be introduced into circulation and transported to the necessary destination without any incision.


Written by Nichapatr (Petch) Lomtakul


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