Space Shuttle tech works on brain tumors

Space Shuttle tech works on brain tumors

Summary: The promise is that robotic surgeons like the neuroArm can be more accurate than a surgeon's hands, which is vital in areas like brain surgery.

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neuroArm from neoroarm.orgA robotic surgeon based on military technology has performed its first brain operation in Canada.

The neuroArm was developed as a collaborative effort by the University of Calgary and MacDonald Dettwiler Associates Ltd. (MDA), a Vancouver military contractor whose best known device is Canadarm used on the Space Shuttle.

The device removed a benign brain tumor from Paige Nickason, 21, who suffers from neurofibromatosis, which causes benign tumours to form on nerves. The procedure took about 9 hours.

The promise is that robotic surgeons like the neuroArm can be more accurate than a surgeon's hands, which is vital in areas like brain surgery. MDA also hopes the spin-off will be profitable.

On a day when brain surgery is in the news it's nice to know it's getting better.

Topic: Software Development

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46 comments
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  • Brain Salad Surgery

    Hmm. Would I let a robot operate on my brain? It depends on how it determines where to cut since not everybody's brain is the same size. Or is this a "waldo" unit that is actually controlled by a human?
    Azathoth
    • Where's Waldo?

      It's not only pre-programmed but controlled by a doctor during the operation. The main advantage is that the unit can be adjusted in increments of just 50 microns, whereas with human surgeons we're talking about millimeters.

      Makes a difference with brains.
      DanaBlankenhorn
  • I don't think so

    You know, I'd rather have the doctor there so, if something went wrong, there was no delay with the information. Relying on secure internet, or satellite communication is too slow, IMO. I don't want someone making decisions based on anything that has to go through a CISCO router sitting in a closet somewhere.

    Minor surguries, maybe, but not anything major.

    Matt
    mkeiser1
    • I don't think so...

      ...or better yet, a four port 3com Officeconnect.
      tbaker4
      • Depends....

        Does it have an Undo function? :)
        DigitalFrog
      • I don't thing so...

        My only fear is that it might have a MS-O/S like Win-98 LOL
        TDWay
  • RE: Space Shuttle tech works on brain tumors

    As long as the surgeon is directing the robot I see no
    problem, especially as a robot arm would be much
    steadier than the hands of any human.
    labarker
  • RE: Space Shuttle tech works on brain tumors

    One thing for certain,a robotic arm
    is not going to be facing mid-life crisis,
    overworked,or stressed out.If the programming
    is accurate and the equipment is properly
    calibrated,this is probably safer than relying
    on Dr. Oops.Technology is great ain't it?
    tj2000
  • RE: Space Shuttle tech works on brain tumors

    One thing for sure,that robotic arm is
    not going to be hung over,stressed out,
    or going through mid-life crisis.

    If the programming is accurate and the
    equipment is properly calibrated,I so go
    for it.My chances would probably be as
    good as going under the knife with Dr.
    Oops!.
    tj2000
  • RE: Space Shuttle tech works on brain tumors

    Depends on whether the robot is truly more accurate and if there is a failsafe so a power or control failure would not cause damage. If both answers are yes then I would prefer a robot.
    shanedr
  • But is it robotic, or is it something else...?

    It all depends on if it's "robotic" or "telerobotic."

    Telerobotic, they already have (the "da Vinci system", already in use). My surgeon used that on me for recent Prostate surgery.

    "Robotic" is another story entirely--that implies that you have a somewhat autonomous machine, runnning programs on a computer somewhere, telling what to cut, what to not cut, and how to tell the difference.

    I'm thinking it's just another telerobot, being used for brain tumor surgery, being controlled by a surgeon at a video gaming console somewhere nearby. And yes, it is more steady, and yes, there are all sorts of fail-safes. I think that they even have UPS back-up systems running behind them!

    But for some news reporter to be able to tell the difference...? I think not.
    boothby
  • RE: Space Shuttle tech works on brain tumors

    No. Robot assist, possibly but, just robot, no. At least not with today's level of AI.
    khan0000
  • RE: Space Shuttle tech works on brain tumors

    Try it on Ted Kennedy. Maybe he will be good for something.
    algaatoz
  • RE: Space Shuttle tech works on brain tumors

    Anything to improve the accuracy in surgery is a step forward as far as I am concerned.

    Too often, I hear or read about some operation that was botched up because of the ineptitude or fatigue of surgeons or their staff.

    Systems and tools developed to reduce mistakes made on the operating table can only be a good thing.
    Buzzbuttons
  • RE: Space Shuttle tech works on brain tumors

    I have a client who wrote the GUI for the first
    "concept" surgical robot quite a while back, an IBM project.
    since the "robot" can be "trained" to ignore changes in attention, etc.,
    that become the minor fluctuations, and is, in a sense, functionally a lever
    that allows gross movements to be executed at a finer scale,
    this is really no different than replacing rocks wth drills, fingers with scalpels.
    The interesting idea might be what happens if one combines this level of control with msft's surface technology?
    gabrielbear
  • RE: Space Shuttle tech works on brain tumors

    Now if they can just get the robot to fix their sorry medical system.
    megbr5492
  • RE: Space Shuttle tech works on brain tumors

    That would be extremely valuable for an astronaut living in a space station (or somebody living where an expert is not available) and who needs an extremely urgent surgery.

    Also, the link between the surgeon and the robot would need to be of more importance that that used by phones over IP.
    RicardoMunoz
  • RE: Space Shuttle tech works on brain tumors

    Yes, I would have a robotic surgeon do an operation, in fact I've had such an operation. I had my prostate removed due to cancer and it was a one night stay in the hospital compared to 7 to 10 days had the scapel been used. The photos on the screen are incredible clear and the robot very precise. My incision where the robot went in at my navel is hardly visible anymore. The also made four very tiny holes to insert the lights for the camera.
    dagreen
  • RE: Space Shuttle tech works on brain tumors

    Having recently had robotic prostrate surgery, I can say that in the hands of a skilled surgeon - these tools reduce the recovery time and make for a much more precise procedure!

    http://www.intuitivesurgical.com/index.aspx
    dzumalt
  • RE: Space Shuttle tech works on brain tumors

    es, I would have a robotic surgeon do an operation, in fact I've had such an operation. I had my prostate removed due to cancer and it was a one night stay in the hospital compared to 7 to 10 days had the scapel been used. The photos on the screen are incredible clear and the robot very precise. My incision where the robot went in at my navel is hardly visible anymore. They also made four very tiny holes to insert the lights for the camera.
    dagreen