A Chinese Robot Just Performed The First Ever Fully Automated Dental Surgery

The world is in the process of the new industrial revolution. The engineering jobs of yesterday are not enough for tomorrow, and the new ones will be immensely different from today. All thanks to automation and additive manufacturing! Just like the world imagined in the Jetsons, our future will have a lot of flying car assistants like Rosie the Robot Maid. The biomedical world in the future will be lined with surgical robots. A robot in China just performed a fully automated dental surgery while validating this prediction.

About 400 million people in China require dental implants, but there are not enough dentists to cater for the needs of all people. This autonomous robot arm is developed by researchers from the Fourth Military Medical University’s affiliated Stomatological Hospital and the Robot Institute at Beihang University in Beijing. It is meant to eliminate the dentist shortage in China and cut down on surgical errors.

Image: Air Force Medical University

The first surgery of the robot arm was performed on a woman in China that involved implanting two 3D printed teeth into the patient’s mouth. The operation took about an hour, and it was monitored by two human medical staff who didn’t assist the robot. While preparing for the surgery, position oriented equipment was fitted into the patient’s mouth. The robot assessed the skull and jaw using a CT scanner.

The robotic arm was then loaded with all the necessary information using a special marking system. This included the information about angles, movements, and depth required to place the implants with an error margin of 0.2-0.3 mm; the standard for such procedures. In this particular surgery, these implants were placed with remarkable precision.

The entire process was recorded right from the beginning to the end.

A similar robot called Yomi was developed by Neocis, the Florida based company, that only helped to plan procedures before the actual surgery.

The future may just eliminate the need for dentists, welcoming us with error-free procedures. How soon will that be? No one knows.

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