Robots Set to Revolutionise MRI Surgery
If Hollywood movies are anything to go by, the future of mankind is one that will be littered with robots. The multitude of roles they can potentially fulfil and their versatility make them perfect for all manner of applications.
One of the most important industries that stands to benefit from a robotic revolution is the healthcare sector. And now researchers at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) are in the process of developing a robot that can assist with intricate surgical procedures while a patient is inside an MRI scanner.
However, the strong magnetic fields used by these machines mean that metal objects cannot be placed inside when they’re being operated. That’s why the team at WPI have developed a robot that is made from plastic and features ceramic piezoelectric motors.
The robots are currently being tested on human patients undergoing prostate biopsies at Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Real-time MRI images can be used by the radiologists to guide their robotic assistants, affording unprecedented accuracy throughout the procedure.
Gregory Fischer, a mechanical engineering professor at WPI, whose Automation and Interventional Medicine Robotics Lab spearheaded the research, said: “Essentially, we made a device that can move around the MRI bore without affecting image quality.”
You can read more about the technology behind this surgical breakthrough in this journal article.
Photo credit: Mirror