Surgical robots go right down your throat

If you are one who gets freaked out in the dentist’s chair, you might want to steady yourself before reading on. It seems the inventive folks at Johns Hopkins have come up with a surgical robot that can crawl down your throat.

The whole thing looks like something out of the Terminator series to me, but it sure makes sense from a medical point of view. It’s not like the throat gives surgeons a whole lot of room to maneuver anyway. Even with long-handled devices, the human hands tend to get in the way after awhile.

So what is this squirm-inducing invention? Why, it’s a set of thin tentacles that can snake down your throat and perform all kinds of surgical procedures that doctors wish they could do. The doctors, of course, are controlling the movements of those tentacles while watching the whole thing on a 3D computer system.

Another vital benefit is that the tentacles have no iron in them, meaning that they can be in the same room with magnetic imaging equipment without being “drawn” to it. Experiments with prototypes have produced capabilities of 100 actions a second, the scientists have said, meaning that the most complex throat surgery can be done in a fraction of the time it would normally take.

These are just prototypes at the moment, as they don’t have a finished product yet. The scientists say that lab testing will continue for at least a few more years before this sucker is unleashed on the masses.


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