Robots play a critical -- and growing -- role in modern medicine, from training the next generation of doctors, dentists, and nurses, to comforting and protecting elderly patients in the early stages of dementia. Using robots, medical professionals can make smaller incisions for shorter surgeries, reducing hospital stays and improving patients' prognoses and saving costs. As robots become even smaller and developers continue to further integrate the devices with artificial intelligence, the medi
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Dr. Linda van den Bedem created Sofie -- the simpler moniker for Surgeon's Operating Force-feedback Interface Eindhoven -- as part of her Ph.D. thesis at the Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands. The robot incorporates force feedback, allowing surgeons to feel the pressure they apply when making a suture or pushing aside a bit of tissue. Sofie consists of a master/slave robotics setup, as well as joysticks and a surgeon's control panel. The small slave is not on the floor, but mounted on the operating table. Van den Bedem built the robot with assistance from Eindhoven University's technical department, which patented the process. Although Van den Bedem expects she is about five years away from developing a commercially available system, she expects Sofie to be attractively priced and cost much less than currently available technology that does not include the tactile capability.
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