Stories about: medical robots

MRI-powered ‘millirobots’ could swim around the body, drive needles, puncture tissues

(noppasit TH/Shutterstock)
(noppasit TH/Shutterstock)

MRI is a staple of surgical imaging, but it has the potential to do much more than take pictures. In 2011, bioengineer Pierre Dupont, PhD, and colleagues demonstrated that an MRI machine’s magnetic field could power a motor strong enough to control a robotic instrument, in this case driving a needle into an organ to do a biopsy.

But Dupont, head of the Pediatric Cardiac Bioengineering Lab at Boston Children’s Hospital, wants to go further. “We had this idea, admittedly fanciful: What if you could swim robots through the body?” he says. “If you could inject something systemically and steer it to just hit your target, that would be a cool application.”

Read Full Story | Leave a Comment

A physician-turned-mobile app developer: My first hackathon

Brian Rosman, MD, is the current Robotic Surgery Research Fellow in the Department of Urology at Boston Children’s Hospital. He focuses on applying modern technology to improve the practice of medicine.

When I entered the MIT Health and Wellness Innovation “hackathon,” it wasn’t with high hopes. I felt our team from Boston Children’s Hospital had a solid idea to develop, but I’d taken part in similar collaborations that fell victim to personal disputes, group member apathy and overzealous leadership. This time I was wrong.

The idea we brought to the 10-day event/competition, sponsored by MIT Media Lab, was a mobile telecommunication robot that could monitor children in their homes after surgery. Our mobile robot, the VGo, has the potential to be a great tool, but when we’re not using it to make remote visits, it just takes up space in the patient’s house.

We felt the robot could be enhanced if the family could interact with it to ask questions, through some type of artificial intelligence, while the child played with some kind of game or character that would help them stay on their post-operative regimen. 

Read Full Story | 1 Comment | Leave a Comment

Medical robots: A children’s eye view

Hospital innovators are beginning to turn to robotic systems – some as simple as a cell phone that enables video conferencing between doctor and patient – to enhance patient care and lower costs (see yesterday’s post). The Child Life department at Children’s Hospital Boston asked kids staying at the hospital to share their ideas for robots that could help them and assist their doctors and nurses. A few hospital staff got in the spirit, too.  At left and below are a few of their submissions. Click to enlarge them.

>>>Designed first with legos, “Harold” has two antennae that function both as hands and an FM radio, so it can help carry things around the hospital while rockin’ to some tunes.

Read Full Story | Leave a Comment