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Robot Performs Surgery For Obstructive Sleep Apnea: Is It Over The Top?

I came across this article the other day regarding use of the daVinci robot to perform base of tongue surgery for obstructive sleep apnea.

For those who don’t know, the daVinci robot system made by Intuitive Surgical is a robotic system whereby the surgeon directs the arms of the robot to perform surgery in difficult-to-access areas of the body.

My feeling is that using a robot to perform sleep apnea surgery is way overkill akin to using a $50,000 sniper rifle to kill an ant on the wall.

Everything the daVinci robot can do can also be done without the robot with equivalent patient outcomes. In fact, Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Fauquier ENT Blog*

Improving Research: Device Automates The Process Of Cultivating Cells

fz2vt9dw Cell cultures form the basis of many types of lab research, however growing these cell cultures has always been a time-consuming, laborious job that is largely done by hand.

That is about to change, with the Fraunhofer Institute and Max Planck Institute having developed a machine that completely automates the process of cultivating cells.

From the press release:

The device consists of an array of modules: One of these is a robot that transports the vessels containing the cell cultures, known as multititer plates, from one place to the next. Dr. Albrecht Brandenburg, group manager at IPM describes another module: Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Medgadget*

A Robot To Talk You Through Your Diet

Agence France-Presse (AFP) is reporting that a new robot, designed to help people lose the pounds, will soon be available on the U.S. market.

The Autom from Intuitive Automata was designed to act like a personal coach, talking you through a personalized diet and helping you to stick with it. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Medgadget*

Bloodbot, The Vein-Finding Robot

Here is a project from the folks at the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Imperial College London, and its Mechatronics in Medicine Laboratory, who are bent on developing an “active robot designed to take blood samples from the ante-cubital fossa…”

The Bloodbot identifies the location of a suitable vein by pressing a probe against the surface tissue of the ante-cubital fossa and measuring the force on the probe. The difference in the characteristics of the tissue from its surroundings, in response to the applied force, indicates the presence of a vein.

Once a suitable vein has been found, it inserts a needle under force control. When the needle penetrates the vein (identified by its force/position profile), the control system prevents further insertion, thus avoiding overshooting the vein.

We think they need to combine this robot with VeinViewer for a more accurate, and probably spookier, experience.

The Bloodbot Project…

Flashbacks: VeinViewer Shipped!; First Hospital To Use The VeinViewer ; Video of VeinViewer; VeinViewer Off to Europe; Vein Contrast Enhancer

(hat tip: DVICE)

*This blog post was originally published at Medgadget*

Robotic Nurse Assistant Can Carry Patients Around Hospitals


The Japanese are gearing up for a time when there are more elderly folks needing assistance than there are young whippersnappers available to do the chores. The RIBA, or Robot for Interactive Body Assistance, is a 400 pound (180 kilos) device designed by engineers at the RIKEN institute and Tokai Rubber Industries to carry people up to 135 pounds (61 kilos) between hospital beds, wheelchairs, and even toilets. The device is full of tactile sensors to make carrying safe and comfortable for patients, and it can even recognize faces and be commanded via voice to perform basic tasks. The only problems, from our point of view, is the inadequacy of this robot of serving the hefty average American and the menacing demeanor of what looks like a space bear without the personality of Chewbacca.

Here’s a demo video of the RIBA…

Link: Google translation of Japanese info page about the RIBA

More from the Pink Tentacle

*This blog post was originally published at Medgadget*

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Latest Book Reviews

Book Review: Is Empathy Learned By Faking It Till It’s Real?

I m often asked to do book reviews on my blog and I rarely agree to them. This is because it takes me a long time to read a book and then if I don t enjoy it I figure the author would rather me remain silent than publish my…

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The Spirit Of The Place: Samuel Shem’s New Book May Depress You

When I was in medical school I read Samuel Shem s House Of God as a right of passage. At the time I found it to be a cynical yet eerily accurate portrayal of the underbelly of academic medicine. I gained comfort from its gallows humor and it made me…

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Eat To Save Your Life: Another Half-True Diet Book

I am hesitant to review diet books because they are so often a tangled mess of fact and fiction. Teasing out their truth from falsehood is about as exhausting as delousing a long-haired elementary school student. However after being approached by the authors’ PR agency with the promise of a…

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