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10 Medical Robots That Could Change Healthcare

From microbots that scrape plaque from arteries to personal assistant robots that help care for patients, medical robots are transforming the face of healthcare.
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Just last year, Toyota announced four robots made to help paralyzed patients walk or balance themselves. The company plans to commercialize the robots sometime in 2013. Pictured above is one of the four robots, the Balance Training Assist. The robot acts as a two-wheeled balancing game. The machine displays one of three sports games on a monitor and requires the patient to make moves in the game by shifting his/her weight on the robot.

Other medical robots developed by Toyota include The Walk Training Assist robot and the Independent Walk Assist robot. The Walk Training Assist robot mounts on a paralyzed leg and detects movement of the hips through sensors at the thigh and foot. The robot helps the knee swing and the leg move forward to facilitate walking. The Independent Walk Assist robot is designed for walking training. In addition to helping the leg bend and move forward, the robot supports the patient's weight. The robot adjusts to support less weight as the patient's walking improves. The Assist robots can also monitor metrics, such as joint angles, allowing physicians to more easily track a patient's progress.

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aubreyjd
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aubreyjd,
User Rank: Apprentice
12/20/2013 | 12:51:57 AM
The Possibilities
            As an engineer I would say that I have a slightly different view on what art is. Though previously a major in the arts I decided to diverge more into applied aesthetics. When mentioning to others that I want to go into manufacturing engineering it is often imagined as a rusty factory, grumpy faces, with weird smells and toxins flowing through the airways. But me, I see it as a system with so many pathways that can be taken. Last year, while visiting one of these factories on a tour, I quickly fell in love, as weird as that sounds, with a robot. The ways in which it moves, and the ways in which it was able to help were just something so beautiful to me, and it was then that I realized the beauty in robotics.

            While doing much research in robotics I found so many articles on how they have been used in the medical field (where I hope to end up someday). Robots that help deliver materials, make materials, and compute data, and even things like this that are able to possibly even lift a patient's spirits; it even touches the Wall-E lover inside of me and through things like Wall-E I find my inspiration to use engineering, but also this art to hopefully make the world a better place some day. Things like this show me the endless possibilities of where robotics can fit and help, and if engineered properly I think it's a really viable opportunity that we should embrace.
jaysimmons
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jaysimmons,
User Rank: Apprentice
12/13/2012 | 7:44:21 PM
re: 10 Medical Robots That Could Change Healthcare
IGm a little skeptical, as others are IGm sure, of replacing human interaction with medical robots. One of the main complaints I hear about EHRs is the aspect of losing interaction with patients due to having to document in the system during the visit. I am however looking forward to microbots becoming more prevalent in the field, and the data we will be able to gather from them.

Jay Simmons Information
Week Contributor
chergui77
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chergui77,
User Rank: Apprentice
12/8/2012 | 4:22:22 AM
re: 10 Medical Robots That Could Change Healthcare
As a registered nurse practioner, I would like to see evidence based practice and research that supports robotics vs. human contact. Studies show that infants need human contact to bond and survive. Will robots just get the job done or will there be data that concurrently shows improved clinical patient outcomes and quality improvement? I have my doubts.
ArtWittmann
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ArtWittmann,
User Rank: Apprentice
12/7/2012 | 6:23:56 PM
re: 10 Medical Robots That Could Change Healthcare
Second slide - robot schmobot, how about that cool tiger maple imperial sofa. No THAT'S cool!
Cara Latham
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Cara Latham,
User Rank: Apprentice
12/7/2012 | 5:18:44 PM
re: 10 Medical Robots That Could Change Healthcare
While I think most of these robots are innovative and extremely helpful for many patients, I think I would be nervous to have the "microbots" inside of my body. I just think I would be worried that in the event of a malfunction, the microbots would not be able to exit quickly.
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