Today’s technology has produced numerous advances, and healthcare has perhaps benefitted the most. With people living longer and doctors able to perform procedures that sound as if they came straight from science-fiction novels, healthcare has indeed experienced a technology revolution. As more innovations come along, the field of robotics has become increasingly important for doctors everywhere. Whether it’s surgery, prosthetics, or other aspects of medicine, robotics has indeed changed the world of modern healthcare.
For people who have lost a limb due to illness or injury, they often feel as if they have lost much of their freedom when it comes to doing everyday activities. However, with the development of mind-controlled robotic prosthetics, they are finding that virtually anything is possible. Researchers at Johns Hopkins University have developed prosthetics that work in conjunction with a person’s nerve impulses to move prosthetic limbs. By identifying individual muscles based on contractions, the prosthetic limbs can then translate those commands into movements.
Used in eye surgery, these robots are the size of a human hair and are embedded in a patient’s eye using a small needle. Once there, surgeons use magnetic coils placed around the eye to control the robot’s motions. This allows for delicate procedures to be performed in a minimally invasive manner, which makes recovery times much quicker. Using technology similar to that found at Hudson Robotics, Inc. these robots are also able to have online instructions downloaded to them that allow them to use artificial intelligence in reacting to a surgeon’s commands. In addition to being used in surgical procedures, similar technology is being used to develop automated lab systems as well as integrating existing surgical instruments with robotics technology.
Personal Care Robotics
Used extensively in Europe and gaining acceptance in the U.S., personal care robots can not only assist elderly people with daily tasks that help them continue to live independently, but also relay information to family members and caregivers. Some robots are equipped with sensors that allow them to monitor such things as open windows or locked doors, while others can use sensors to detect changes in a person’s weight, blood pressure, blood sugar, or other important data.
While these innovations seem remarkable to many, researchers believe this is only the beginning. In the years ahead, they expect even more surgical procedures to be performed using robotics, and also expect greater advances in personal care and assisting victims of strokes or spinal cord injuries.