Medical robots are changing the face of healthcare in dramatic ways, from making hospital operations more efficient to helping doctors perform lifesaving procedures.
The RP-VITA Remote Presence Robot, for example, is a device that combines iRobot’s autonomous navigation and mobility with InTouch Health’s telemedicine technology. The device is a mobile cart with a two-way video screen and medical monitoring equipment. The robot maneuvers through hospital halls to check on patients in different rooms and manage their individual charts and vital signs, all without direct human intervention.
The Aethon TUG is an automated system that helps move supplies — medication, food and linens, for example — from one space to another, allowing healthcare workers to spend more time with patients. The robot works 24/7, maneuvering hospital halls and riding elevators as it delivers supplies.
Free-roaming robots called microbots are being manufactured by a number of companies to perform precise tasks inside the human body. Often, these robots enable minimally invasive procedures, such as removing plaque from arteries. One of the more well-known medical robots is the da Vinci Surgical System, which enables a surgeon to operate through a few small incisions. The da Vinci System features a magnified 3D high-definition vision system and tiny wristed instruments that bend and rotate for precise movements.