Robotic applications in medicine are an emerging field ranging in applications from surgery to prosthetics. This presentation will cover the state of the art in robotic surgery, emerging technology in micro and nano robotics, the current direction in micro robotics as pertaining to pediatrics, and enabling technology. Multi-degree of freedom steerable cannula and end effectors are providing technology for specialized micro robots that perform specific tasks for precise surgical maneuvers. The precision and scale of these robots can provide advancements in the use of surgical robots in pediatric and fetal surgery. Current advances and future requirements for micro robotic technology will be reviewed. The addition of super robotic senses utilizing Raman spectroscopy imaging, advanced haptics, and novel 4-D ultrasound will also be presented. These technologies will provide capabilities that greatly enhance surgical and diagnostic performance and outcomes.
The interface of micro Raman imaging to robotics allows for delineation of tumor, necrosis, and normal tissue boundaries. Specific lipid –protein markers can narrow the diagnostic spectral peaks for tissue differentiation allowing for rapid pathology identification and real time molecular imaging. These advances in micro Raman can provide point of care real-time diagnosis. A specific example in neurosurgery will be presented. Further, real time diagnosis of infections with particular emphasis on antibiotic resistant pathogens can be obtained by Raman spectroscopy.
3-Dimensional ultrasound provides holographic images with full wave reconstruction allowing for both imaging and tumor identification. A 3-D acoustic hologram provides both visual imaging as well as feature location and information such as morphology, angiogenesis, and tumor mechanical properties that can provide diagnostic abilities not available with normal ultrasound.
Tactile sensation utilizing MicroElectroMechanical (MEMS) arrays provides an ultra sensitive sense of touch that can feel tumor heat and tissue changes providing ultrasensitive haptic feedback. A novel multi layer pressure and heat-sensing array with a surface acoustic wave sensor can provide a sense of touch a trillion times greater that human tactile sensation. Finally, specialized robots that add exoskeletons for physical enhancement, as an enabling technology, will also be discussed.