Automated surgical systems are cumbersome, have a narrow specialization and cost millions of euros. For these and a number of reasons, most hospitals prefer to rely on the physician’s living hand, although the robots themselves in the operating room have not been new for a long time. To remedy this situation, Cambridge Medical Robotics constructed a new robot Versius – an analog of the surgeon’s hand.
A team of hundreds of British scientists and engineers brought together the achievements of laparoscopy, the computing power of mobile gadgets and mechanical systems for the space industry. As a result, they succeeded in what can be conditionally called a copy of the human hand, with approximately the same size and freedom of action.
Its purpose is laparoscopic surgery. During such operations, the doctor’s instruments are inserted through a tiny hole on the patient’s body. However, when moving inside the body, beyond precision is required, so the main option of Versius is the ability to continuously measure the force of impact on living tissue. The robot is as flexible and sensitive as the hand of a professional surgeon, but it does not tremble with fatigue and can work day and night.
The abundance of automatics in Versius is necessary for observing the accuracy of movement, the operation itself will not be performed by anyone – the robot’s actions are remotely controlled by a living doctor. However, Versius was created as a universal robot, so it can be used in a wide range of operations. At the same time, the device is small and costs at least three times less than existing surgical machines.
The tests of the robotic surgeon Versius will begin in the UK next spring. And if he will prove himself well, he will go on sale by the end of 2019 .