Tiny Robot to Drive Around Abdominal Cavity

Posted on 26/01/2006 by wcox in Science
There's something extremely unnerving about the thought of a tiny robot (rc controlled) driving around the inside of my abdomen. It seems very akin to the robot that too up residence inside of Neo on The Matrix. Regardless, Dr. Dmitry Oleynikov and colleagues at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha have created a small robot to do just that. It's shaped like a long tube and is 15mm in diameter. Two "wheels" on either end of the tube propel the robot and the shaft connecting them houses a camera and a retractable needle.

The robot is only 15 millimetres in diameter, allowing it to be inserted through the small incisions in the abdomen used for keyhole surgery.

Possible uses for this robot would be to insert several into a person and view a surgery site from multiple angles. Each robot is controlled from a console with a joystick. The tires are specially designed to not damage tissue and provide good traction inside the body.

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