Robot Surgeons and Joystick Heart Surgeries

Video in this article shows the “Heartlander,” a miniature mobile robot that delivers therapy to the surface of a beating heart…using a joystick! Like the Star Wars 2-1B series medical droid, real medical robots can now provide surgery that’s minimally invasive — or even performed remotely — while offering greater precision, decreased blood loss, and smaller incisions with quicker healing time and less pain.

Other examples include the ViRob, a tiny “millibot” 1 millimeter in diameter and 5 millimeters long that can travel inside the human body to collect tissue samples, deliver medicine, and eventually may even take photographs. And another millibot is being developed for delicate micro-surgery on blood vessels so small they’re nearly impossible to see without magnification.

In May of 2006, the first “A.I. doctor” conducted “unassisted surgery on a 34-year old-male to correct heart arrhythmia, and the results were rated as better than an above average human surgeon.” But of course, the next generation will be nanobots – self-repairing microscopic robots that can actually perform molecular assembly within the human body!