Why is this tech fascinating, you ask?
The life expectancy of an average human being is said to be 71 years and to increase this span, our race is constantly striving to advance in the field of medicine. This is where the technology we build comes into picture. From improving the precision to reduce the inaccuracy and abrasion, increasing the chances of success rates of a particular operation, to virtually testing the probabilities and compatibilities of experiments for research; the constant evolution of mankind to create and use the technology has facilitated and simplified several medical procedures.
The applications of the technology for the healthcare science are so vast and explorable, that it makes even the smallest of innovations or experimental observations will be useful for the future of medicine. That is quite a reason for any curious mind to take interest and dive in-to contribute to the development of biomedical instrument & automation.
OKAY, i’LL be specific!
There being mentioned the vast applications, to name a few there are promising 3D printing techniques for organs and blood vessels, there is IoT for telehealth care, there is virtual and augmented reality for improved patient care and recovery, vitals and daily healthcare monitoring easy-to-use gadgets, AI used in ultrasound etc. but among these the most interesting automations is the robotic assistance in healthcare.
Robotics was first designed to use in surgeries. PUMA 560 was the first robotic arm designed to assist in a neurosurgical biopsy, in 1985. Since then, this aid has now been developed into independent surgery equipment. Some of the best surgery robots today are
1.da Vinci: for general laparoscopic surgeries
2.Ion: for biopsies deep in lung
3.Cyberknife, Mako, Navio, Monarch, etc.
Sushruta, the founding father of surgery, would have really been enthralled to see this progress! The primitive, unpredictable, risky, inaccurate ways have now become safer, accurate and have significantly increased the chances for positive results.
Now this automation when proved successful it created scope for other applications too. The droids were then created for helping disinfect of the hospital premises to reduce the risk of infection and contamination which was one of the many reasons for the deaths of the patients. Such a robot is Xenex, that used UV radiation for the disinfection. Of course, there have been outdoor public hygiene robots created too but their implementation is not yet possible to many countries. Imagine how the rate of spread of diseases would be cut down! So much for the cleanliness, that even epidemic control bots using AI (for clinical diagnosis in different scenarios) are in the making, in countries like China etc. since the 1970s. Unfortunate for us though, we currently face the lack of it in need of the hour. The COVID19 pandemic might just ensure that such a technology would be developed soon.
The nanotechnology is still in its initial phases yet, the Origami robot in a capsule is a great invention that dissolves the capsule and unfolds allowing the technician to smoothly patch up wounds on the stomach lining or remove the swallowed unwanted material stuck on it. Isn’t it just remarkable?
Another fiction to reality transformation is the creation of exoskeletons. It is one of the fastest growing automations in robotics. The are very costly but are growing in demand (for those who can afford it). The leading companies like ReWalk robotics, Cyberdyne and Ekso bionics are striving in making it better by the day. It not only helps the patients give them the necessary support but also extends extra movement, strength and endurance to the people like the warehouse workers as help.
For running the errands in the hospitals like providing clinic supplies, transporting the meals, delivering medications, laboratory specimens etc., a company named Atheon built The TUG an autonomous robot. This unburdened the employees a significant amount of time and energy, making them able to focus on patients.
The therapeutic robots like PARO, JIBO, Pepper, Zora, Buddy are social interactive (even patient care) robots that help the subject recover faster, and analyze & record the behavior of the subject (could be used for the animals too). There are elder care robots as companion and support. ElliQ is one such marvelous creation that keeps the old adults active, engaged and more interactive.
If we put our minds to use to help build mechanization for this good a cause, we will be able to conduct great researches, cure rarer diseases, try to develop methods for operating the seemingly untreatable serious conditions, and most importantly try to make this technology available and affordable to all in need of it. In my opinion it is a very promising arena for a contribution for student of science who want to help the society.
Thank you for giving your time to this piece of my mind and hope it gives an insight.