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Medicine Robotics Science

Eye Surgery By Magnetically Guided Microbots Moves Toward Clinical Trials 47

Posted by samzenpus
from the here's-a-robot-for-your-eye dept.
Sabine Hauert writes "According to robotics researcher Simone Schürle from ETH Zurich's Multi-Scale Robotics Lab (MSRL), the OctoMag is a magnetic manipulation system that uses electromagnetic coils to wirelessly guide micro-robots for ophthalmic surgery. With this system, mobility experiments were conducted in which a micro-robot with a diameter of 285 um (about four times the width of a hair) was navigated reliably through the eye of a rabbit, demonstrating the feasibility of using this technology in surgical applications."
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Eye Surgery By Magnetically Guided Microbots Moves Toward Clinical Trials

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  • by fizzer06 (1500649) on Wednesday June 26, 2013 @06:26PM (#44118181)
    I wonder if these could stop blood vessels under the retina from seeping without destroying the retina. I never knew WMD was as common as it is until I got it. The treatment is an injection in the eye every 6 weeks at $2500 each time. Good insurance pays off.
  • Stoked (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DoofusOfDeath (636671) on Wednesday June 26, 2013 @06:35PM (#44118235)

    As I age, I'm getting this accumulation of little maladies that's making me really hanker for advances in surgical technologies. Case in point, I've got an annoying floater in my right eye. They're traditionally hard to treat effectively, I think partially because normal surgical techniques does as much harm as good for this problem. It seems like just the job for a micro-robot that can swim through an eye's vitreous and gather/destroy other small objects.

    • The problem is cost; we now have a lot of new toys, but they're often expensive as hell, even in countries with NHSs, and the price of these procedures seems to have barely dropped compared to almost any other are of the tech field.

    • by kermidge (2221646)

      Like you, I'm hoping that there will soon be available working remedies, ones better than what is now done, for some of the things beginning to plague my good eye. This potential tool looks promising.

    • by formfeed (703859)

      ... Case in point, I've got an annoying floater in my right eye. ... It seems like just the job for a micro-robot that can swim through an eye's vitreous and gather/destroy other small objects.

      Even better, the robot could upgrade you to the new Google-floater: Just relax and look at the ceiling and you're on the internet.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Just try not to lie back and think of England.

    • by Ryanrule (1657199)

      Hope you are rich, or have exploited your children well.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      The cure for floaters is a vitrectomy [wikipedia.org]. Believe me, you do NOT want that surgery! The surgery itself isn't bad but the recovery, which lasts from one to two weeks, is pure hell. The vitreous is removed from the eye and replaced with nitrogen gas, and you have to look at the floor until the eye replaces the gas with new vitreous. It's also incredibly dangerous to your eyesight until the vitreous returns and the gas goes away; you could go blind from a sudden change in air pressure. AFAIK a surgeon will only d

  • Someday these will be completely automated. Insert in eye, it does a thorough inspection, figures out what's wrong, and fixes it.

    Maybe these can also help attach severed nerves and arteries. With the help of someone (or a robot) to hold the pieces together, a syringe full of these could swarm the body of someone who's just been blown to bits and put him back together again before the brain runs out of oxygen.

    • Looks great for zapping all kinds of anomalies too. Very cool directional technology. Wonder about side effects of em field exposure but not too much as its widely used for diagnostics (f/MRI).

    • It's always exciting to me when I realize that, yes, we are actually living in the fucking future.
      We might miss our flying cars and jetpacks, but only because we've realized there's far more amazing things to research than personal locomotion.

      A fully automated robot doing research on Mars;
      The possibility of near-limitless amounts of information and communication readily available on large swathes of our populated landmass;
      Constructing any sort of object in any sort of shape with a single machine;
      YHWH
      • Well I was born 33 years ago and I find none of these things inspire disbelief, maybe if you said some one who was old 40 years ago and possibly dead now.

        I know my grandfather was always amazed by what tech I used daily before he died a few years ago at 89yrs. Computers and cell phones were a mistery to him.
        • by Richy_T (111409)

          42 years and my only disbelief is that we aren't advancing faster in the medical field right now (Not to disparage those working in the field) and that we aren't doing more in space. Many of these trends were already well established by the early 80s.

          If you want an inflection point, you probably have to look at when the transistor hit mainstream and pick someone who had already had some life experience by then.

          I remember they were doing an interview with a guy who was 100+ years old (this would have been ab

          • by Anonymous Coward

            42 years and my only disbelief is that we aren't advancing faster in the medical field right now

            WTF?? Fifty years ago, cataracts meant going blind for all but a lucky few. Now cataracts mean you no longer need eyeglasses. Fifty years ago they anethstetized you with automotive starting fluid; highly flammable, and a very nasty experience for the patient. Going under was like dying and coming to meant vomiting. Now they say "ok, you're going to sleep now" and the next thing you know you're in the recovery roo

    • by NFN_NLN (633283) on Wednesday June 26, 2013 @09:38PM (#44119171)

      Someday these will be completely automated. Insert in eye, it does a thorough inspection, figures out what's wrong, and fixes it.

      Please, don't limit your imagination like that. Inserting something in your eye is so barbaric.

      Now imagine... someday these will be completely automated. Insert magnetically controlled robot in your ass....

      • by VanessaE (970834)

        Well, there's a delicate corneal inversion procedure... a multi-opti-pupil-optomy. But, in order to keep from damaging the eye sockets, they've got to go in through the rectum.

  • Ocular Oncology (Score:4, Informative)

    by BenJeremy (181303) on Wednesday June 26, 2013 @07:08PM (#44118395)

    Two words you do not want to hear together when getting a referral from a retinal specialist.

    I had a tumor inside my eye. Maybe this process could have saved the vision in my eye, as opposed to the invasive radiation treatment I had to deal with instead. The radiation has basically done a number on the vision in that eye, which has degraded quite a bit since my treatment almost 3 years ago.

    Keep in mind, there are other issues... when they did the biopsy, it resulted in bleeding in my eye, a shocking discovery I made after the treatment (where a radioactive plaque was sewn to my eye, under the tumor, for a week) when I would put the drops prescribed in my eye. It was unexpected, basically a dark encroaching blob that floated into my vision when my head was tilted back. I suspect injecting these into an eye would result in a similar problem. IT took several weeks to clear up (blood absorption is slow in the eye). I'm also not sure if these are up to the task of killing a 6mm tumor.

  • especially the first 20 bunnies, whose eyes helplessly follow Ms. Shurke wherever she passes by.
  • would like to welcome our ferrous overlords!
  • With this system, mobility experiments were conducted in which a micro-robot with a diameter of 285 um (about four times the width of a hair) was navigated reliably through the eye of a rabbi ...

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