There is a lot of activity going on these days regarding settling in space where Earth’s gravity will no longer be in effect. There is a lot of research and development being carried out in this regard. However, as is with such innovative ideas; there are a lot of challenges coming up.
One of the critical problems, which has yet not been addressed till now, is that of medical needs when you are away from Earth. In short, what will happen if a surgery needs to be done in space in zero gravity? This possibility that a human may get hurt and require medical assistance is what led Professor Shane Farritor, along with his colleagues from University of Nebraska to come up with a design for a robot whose sole purpose will be to perform surgeries in space.
The patient may think like there’s an alien abduction in progress but if one requires a difficult operation while living on some space colony, then this friendly robot can be relied upon. It comes with two pairs of robotic arms with each arm being the size of that of an apple. The robot, as already mentioned, has been designed to perform complicated surgeries in zero gravity.
Let’s say there is a need for a delicate surgery such as appendix removal or colon parts’ removal; the first thing to do will be to immobilize the patient. The next phase involves the Robo-Doc creating work space for itself. The work space, essentially, is inflation of a cavity inside your flesh by employing inert gas and therefore, allowing the robot to move under the patient’s skin. This process further ensures that the vital fluids don’t flow out of your body into the environment (remember, zero gravity) and also ensures that your organs remain in place even after an incision has taken place.
The robot’s arms can be controlled by making use of telepresence. The surgery is carried out by trained doctors back on home planet. A live video feed is rendered by the camera, which is mounted on the robot and it relays critical footage to the doctors who are then able to determine what course of action should be taken. The robot is also capable of sending haptic feedback owing to the sensors mounted on it and this allows for the surgeon to know if and when the arm comes in contact with your skin or organs during the robot’s movement.
Trials have been performed so far on pork meat. However, trials in zero gravity have yet to be carried out. The next major step for Farritor and the research team is to try out this robot in field (zero gravity) and record its performance. Good luck to them for that!
Check out the video below for more details: