Harvard’s Tiny Robotic Arm Can Make Endoscopic Surgery Safer

Published by , August 7, 2017 11:08 am

(Engadget) A team of Harvard scientists have designed a tiny robotic arm that lays flat while the endoscope is moving through narrow passages and pops up to reveal tools surgeons can use for the procedure. Unlike the typical surgical tools doctors use today, which are completely rigid, the team’s creation has a hybrid design featuring a rigid skeleton surrounded by soft materials.
Harvard says the fabrication method the team used is simple enough for bulk manufacturing. Further, the design can be scaled down to one millimeter for incredibly complex procedures in the lungs or the brain that would require an endoscope to travel through tiny spaces. The team already performed an ex-vivo (outside the body) test on a pig’s stomach, but that’s just the beginning. Before doctors can use it on actual patients, the team still has more tests to go: in fact, their next goal is to use it on a living animal.

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