Remote-controlled robotic medical devices used for cancer biopsies

Engineers at the Johns Hopkins Urology Robotics Lab report the invention of a motor without metal or electricity that can safely power remote-controlled robotic medical devices used for cancer biopsies and therapies guided by magnetic resonance imaging. The motor that drives the devices can be so precisely controlled by computer that movements are steadier and more precise than a human hand. The new Johns Hopkins motor, dubbed PneuStep, consists of three pistons connected to a series of gears. The gears are turned by air flow, which is in turn controlled by a computer located in a room adjacent to the MRI machine.

The robot goes alongside the patient in the MRI scanner and is controlled remotely by observing the images on the MR. The motor is rigged with fiber optics, which feeds information back to the computer in real time, allowing for both guidance and readjustment.

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