Robotics systems have been employed in medical and health care technology since 2000, when the United States Food and Drug Administration approved the Da Vinci robotic system for use in surgery. Since then, the technology of medical robotics has rapidly advanced. These four innovative robotics solutions could revolutionize the way that people receive essential health care and diagnostic services.
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Supply and Delivery Robots
The Antheon TUG robot is an automated robot that can be programmed to deliver medicines, supplies and even food to patients in medical clinics and hospitals. An estimated $4 million is spent annually by hospitals paying employees to push carts. This robot has built-in scanning systems to ensure that the correct medication and supplies are brought to each patient.
Cell Growth and Selection
In the life sciences, viewing hundreds of petri dishes of bacterial colonies per day can be tiresome for human eyes. Robotics can perform functions such as colony picking workcells so that microbiologists and lab technicians can perform other work in labs that requires a set of human eyes. These robotic systems feature the ability to automate the growth and selection of cells on plates, wells and petri dishes.
Children with autism and communications disorders often have difficulty with occupational, physical and speech therapies delivered by people. Medical robotics can be employed to provide children with therapy in a non-confrontational and more child-friendly way. The robots measure a child’s performance on specific tasks and help them to learn communication skills. Children working with the therapy robots often gain more self-confidence and self-esteem about their progress.
Robot pills are similar to nanotechnology. They involve the swallowing of small capsules that contain robots powered by magnets and electromagnetic coils for steering. These miniature robots can clear arteries of plaque. They are also enabled with video cameras that transmit images to monitors so that doctors can see how much plaque is blocking a patient’s arteries. Using the robot pill is less invasive for plaque removal when compared to heart surgery.
Medical robotics offer ways to deliver health care services that are less invasive and less intrusive for patients. The use of these robotic devices also helps to increase patient throughput and boost the quality of care. Robotics also have the potential to decrease human error in the delivery of health care services. Employing robots in medical technology could reduce health care costs and improve the outcomes for patients.
By Lizzie Weakley