Up until now, if you were in space and you needed surgery you were pretty much out of luck. Well, not anymore. A team of researchers at the University of Nebraska have come up with a series of small robots which can perform surgery in orbit while doctors on earth direct their use.
The robots have three wheels and could be mistaken for lipstick tubes. There are a number of different robots. Some have lights or cameras while others have instruments attached to them which can be operated remotely.
“We think this is going to replace open surgery,” said Dr. Dmitry Oleynikov, a specialist in minimally invasive and computer-assisted surgery at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha.
Because of the delay in communications between earth and space, NASA will have to train the astronauts to operate the robots and perform the surgery while they are receiving instructions from doctors on earth (or they could make doctors astronauts, I guess). Other powerful applications include operating on soldiers right on the battlefield or on people in remote locations where it is too expensive or difficult to send a surgeon.
These robotic wonders go through a small incision and right into the body. They require a smaller opening than traditional surgery, so they are less invasive. They also give surgeons a better view than the naked eye because the images from the cameras are magnified.
I’m not sure what you would do with one of your own, but they are affordable at just $200 per robot if you are in the market.