While many modern robotic inventions seem more like moonshot projects than practical ones, in the medical field, robots have been helping doctors perform surgery for over a decade. In most cases though, surgeons control the movement of the robot through joysticks, knobs, dials and other peripherals. A new exoskeleton being developed at the University of the West of England (UWE), Bristol, however, turns a doctor’s hands into the controls.
Surgeons would slide the exoskeleton over their hands like a glove. At the other end of the device, a new surgical gripper would not only move according to the doctors’ hand gestures, but it would be equipped with haptic feedback such as that found on the HeroSurg system announced last year, so in a sense, the surgeons could feel what the gripper was touching in their patients’ bodies.
A third part of the exoskeleton system is a set of smart glasses that would beam images from inside a patient’s body to the eyes of the surgeon.
The result is that doctors will be able to feel much closer to procedures than by using robotic surgical systems that currently exist.
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