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7/22/2014
07:06 AM
David Wagner
David Wagner
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10 More Robots That Could Change Healthcare

These medical robots bring fresh ideas to healthcare. Ready to see one at your local hospital?
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I, for one, welcome our new robot overlords. Still, as they infiltrate everything from our assembly lines to our living rooms, robots can be just a little disconcerting. Now they plan to conquer the hospital. The first time a robot crawls down your throat or carries you from your bed, you'll likely panic. But before you enlist to fight against the robot threat, remember their purpose -- robots go where we can't, either because of danger or physical limitations. So, before they end up taking over the planet and enslaving humans, they are going to do some amazing things to save our lives.

In fact, robots and medicine go so well together this isn't the first medical robot slideshow we've done. Back in 2012, we covered robots that could do anything from reminding you to take a pill to scraping plaque off your arteries. We showcased more medical robots last year. We just can't get enough.

And for good reason. The medical robot field is growing exponentially. The current $1.7 billion medical robot market is expected to rise to more than $3.7 billion by 2018. And this does not include robots in fire and rescue, military training, and robots designed to improve home life.

It is difficult to estimate just how many robots are wandering the halls of our local hospitals, because it depends on how you define robot. For instance, at least 800 hospitals use telepresence robots. These are rolling devices controlled by doctors and equipped with cameras and tools to allow for remote consultations. There are also "robot surgeons" like the da Vinci, which also require a human to operate them remotely. Both of these are innovative, but they aren't robots so much as remotely operated machines. We wouldn't call a remote control toy car a robot.

For the purpose of this slideshow, we're going to focus more on robots that aren't fancy remote controls for doctors. And when we do talk about remote vehicles, they will include novel approaches that are just too good to ignore. (Spoiler: Doctors use robot "maggots" to drill into your head and eat tumors.)

These amazing robots will do everything from clearing cancerous tumors to helping amputees learn to play music again. They perform more mundane tasks, as well, such as helping patients take medicine, and even throwing up. Why do we need a robot that throws up? You'll have to click through the slideshow to find out. But I promise you'll see a set of really exciting ideas.

David has been writing on business and technology for over 10 years and was most recently Managing Editor at Enterpriseefficiency.com. Before that he was an Assistant Editor at MIT Sloan Management Review, where he covered a wide range of business topics including IT, ... View Full Bio

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Ashu001
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Ashu001,
User Rank: Ninja
7/24/2014 | 11:13:58 AM
Re: Creepy but cool
 

@SaneIT,

Don't worry about it.

The rate at which Devices are getting minitiarized today something similar will eventually become a reality.

What I was wondering though was whether these robots will be 100% Automatic or will operate essentially under Human Guidance?

You would need loads and loads of AI & Processing Power for a 100% automatic version would be HUGE!!!

 
Ashu001
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Ashu001,
User Rank: Ninja
7/24/2014 | 11:09:00 AM
Re: Creepy but cool
 

@SaneIT,

Don't worry about it.

The rate at which Devices are getting minitiarized today something similar will eventually become a reality.

What I was wondering though was whether these robots will be 100% Automatic or will operate essentially under Human Guidance?

You would need loads and loads of AI & Processing Power for a 100% automatic version would be HUGE!!!

 
zerox203
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zerox203,
User Rank: Ninja
7/24/2014 | 11:04:47 AM
Re: 10 More Robots That Could Change Healthcare
What an interesting topic! It's funny how Healthcare is probably one of the greatest/most important ways that technology affects our day-to-day lives, and yet the one we're most likely to not know something about. I'm a pretty tech-savvy person (I assume most of us here are), and yet I hadn't heard of most of these. I've certainly heard of the latest nifty game controller innovations, but why not things that are more important? It's my fault, of course, but I think what you say is true, Dave; people prefer not to think of what their brain cancer treatment will look like, because they don't want to think about having brain cancer. Still, a more frank discussion leads to better advancements.

And what great advancements some of these are! They're all great, but the exeskeleton, in particular, is something I had no idea about. Some of the others are theoretical, which as we all know doesn't always translate into real usability. The fact that we have something that advanced in helping with therapy and pain relief already is pretty surprising. Looking at this list does reinforce just how broad a field 'healthcare' is. Are prosthetics really as important as cancer treatment? Maybe, but for different reasons. This is an area where there can never be too many developments or too much funding.
PedroGonzales
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PedroGonzales,
User Rank: Ninja
7/24/2014 | 10:01:02 AM
Re: Creepy but cool
@SaneIt. that is fantastic.  I have a cousin whom is trying to find various ways to save his hair.  He told me there is one pill on the market but it cost him $300 a bottle.  He told me that the majority of pills just slow process, but can't get the hair to grow back.  If the robot can farm your new hair is a small price to pay for hair.  Even some women suffer from baldness as well.
tjgkg
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tjgkg,
User Rank: Ninja
7/24/2014 | 9:55:04 AM
Re: Where's the paperwork robot?
The insurance robot would probably melt from not only the paperwork but the changing requirements and regulations. I could see each day starting out with an update.
tjgkg
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tjgkg,
User Rank: Ninja
7/24/2014 | 9:42:02 AM
Re: Creepy but cool
For years I have been reading about ways to kill tumours without surgery but nothing has been realized yet. A maggot sized bot sounds interesting but so did all the other theories I have heard. I remember one where they were going to make some injectable drug that will kill the blood sources to the tumours causing them to shrink and die-all without surgery. Gene therapy, interferon etc.
tjgkg
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tjgkg,
User Rank: Ninja
7/24/2014 | 9:38:30 AM
Re: Creepy but cool
They will probably find the gene responsible for baldness and modify it before they get a robot to cure it. They also found the gene for grey hair so soon Just For Men and Clairol could be out of business.
SaneIT
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SaneIT,
User Rank: Ninja
7/24/2014 | 7:13:09 AM
Re: Creepy but cool
@David, only because you asked it's not new technology, I rememer seeing this on tech sites a few years ago but now there is a hospital using it.

 

 
SaneIT
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SaneIT,
User Rank: Ninja
7/24/2014 | 7:05:45 AM
Re: Creepy but cool
@PedroGonzales, good news, it won't take robots to re-grow hair.  Recently an arthritis drug ( tofacitinib citrate) has been shown to reverse alopecia.  Much less invasive than a robot hair farmer running on your scalp.
SaneIT
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SaneIT,
User Rank: Ninja
7/24/2014 | 7:03:05 AM
Re: Creepy but cool
@Ashu001, I'm aware of much larger surgical robots but nothing the size of a maggot.  The closest to that I've seen is a camera swallowed to view the lower GI tract.  I think something the size of a grain of rice moving through the body to remove tumors is a big leap from a robotic arm that can cauterize.
<<   <   Page 4 / 11   >   >>
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