The newly developed robot-surgeon from the US Researcher Labs hardly needs support from human doctors. Almost automatically sewed two bowel ends in a real operation with each other with outstanding precision. The surgery on soft tissue is a crucial during operation and this step in the robotic surgery is simply perfect.
The operation is a millimeter-work and to provide by an experienced surgeon in about eight minutes. The robotic surgeon, US researcher at Sheikh Zayed Institute for Innovation in Pediatric Surgery in Washington, D.C. have developed needs for the same OP in over 30 minutes. But the fact that the robot with a little of human assistance could sew two bowel ends, is a minor sensation. So far, robots have been used, when it came to work on hard material, such as when sawing out of the hole for hip prosthesis. So now the machine can also deal with soft tissue.
“Soft tissue light field camera” with multiple micro-lenses helps robot surgeon to operate.
“S.T.A.R”: name of the robot, stands for “Smart Tissue Autonomous Robot” and was developed by Dr. Peter C. Kim, the Vice-President and conducting surgeon of the Institute. Together with Axel Krieger, who did his Masters in Mechatronics in Karlsruhe University and then in its promotion specialist at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore on Medical Robotics.
“Our intention is not to replace the human surgeon” explains Kim. “We want to expand human capabilities through improved vision, skill and additional technical intelligence, so that the surgical outcome will be better.”
Main features of the new robot surgeon is a light-field camera that captures the three-dimensional light field of a subject on a plurality in micro-lenses at front of the image sensor. Thereby not only the position and intensity of a light beam is detected, but also the direction from which it comes. About fluorescent time markings that were on the piece of intestine which is to be operated on, glued, then place the robot with the help of the light field camera his precise way.
Star in some surgical techniques is slower but far more accurate
When is pulling the circular needle and piercing through the tissue the camera marker system can process all changes in real time and adapt movements accordingly controlled by an intelligent algorithm. The robot stitched the two bowel ends, in several operations on live pigs, all survived very precise.
Only in a few difficult places, scientists had to readjust robot work. “These are just little assistance. Perhaps, as when a baby makes the first steps, because it is nervous and wants to be sure that it does not fall. But the robot can work autonomously in the future, “says Kim.
The “S.T.A.R”. robots have a bright future as researchers continuously improving it. Besides plenoptic camera has the artificial surgeon via a pressure sensor, moves safely in the sub-millimeter range and can deal with several different surgical instruments. This kind of precision is very impressive obviously not possible for human been.