British scientists create world’s smallest surgical robot named Versius

Aug 22, 2017 13:00 IST
UK scientists create world’s smallest surgical robot named Versius

British scientists have developed the world’s smallest surgical robot named Versius, which could transform everyday operations for tens of thousands of patients.

The robot was developed by a team of 100 scientists and engineers using low-cost technology originally developed for mobile phones and space industries.

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Key highlights

The robot mimics the human arm and can be used to carry out a wide range of laparoscopic procedures, including hernia repairs, colorectal operations, and prostate and ear, nose and throat surgery. The laparoscopic procedures are those procedures in which a series of small incisions are made to circumvent the need for traditional open surgery. This reduces complications and pain after surgery and speeds up recovery times for patients.

Versius is controlled by a surgeon at a console guided by a 3D screen in the operating theatre.

The robot is much easier to use compared to other surgical robots. Versius takes up about a third of the space of current machines and will be no more expensive than non-robotic keyhole surgery.

One of the key benefits of the robot is that it works like a human arm and contains technology that detects resistance to make sure the right amount of force is used when the instruments are inside the patient.

The scientists looked at the joints within the human arm, in particular the wrist, mapping how they conduct a role to allow the hand to move so precisely and flexibly. They then replicated these movements in the robot.

Versius is the same size as a human arm and has four wrist joints, giving the surgeon an unmatched level of freedom to operate on the patient from whatever angle they want.

To create robot, the engineers used electronics from mobile phones to help the robot “think” and process information, and gear box technology originally designed for the space industry to help it move.

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