How would you like an ultra-small robot to make a bellybutton sized hole in your body and then to get in and perform a surgery while inflating your abdominal cavity with an inert gas?
Sounds like a scene out of Hollywood’s many sci-fi flicks? While it might not be an opportunity that we will jump at, this cutting-edge technology could perform future emergency surgeries in space.
Developed by NASA, Virtual Incision and the researchers from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, this tiny, fist-sized robot could save the lives of astronauts in the next decade or two.
A compact robot that is controlled remotely from earth, this little bug comes with a couple of arms tipped with multiple tools to get specific surgeries done in space.
These surgical procedures could include repairing any damaged tissues from internal injuries, ruptured ulcers or even an appendectomy.
While NASA has to currently fly astronauts back home for such procedures, such a scenario might not be an option in deep space missions of the future. Most experts concede that if we wish to explore the solar system beyond the moon, then on-board surgical care is an absolute must.
These tiny robots that are currently in the test phase weight only 0.9 pounds and will be remotely link to surgeons on earth with two Phantom Omni haptic devices and a camera.
Once they get past the zero-gravity test conditions, the next step will be to try them out on ISS. Future versions of the robot could come with pre-loaded medical knowledge so that they can even function autonomously.