Robots play more and more importanta role in modern surgery, empowering physicians, enhancing patient safety and taking surgery to a new level of precision. A striking example of the introduction of robotics into surgery was the recent presentation by Elon Musk of the Neuralink neurochip, which is implanted into the brain exclusively by a robotic surgeon. A team of scientists from Harvard University and robotics engineers from Sony Corporation have jointly created their own robotic surgeon, capable of performing operations on a microscopic scale.
The new robot has dimensions comparable toa tennis ball and is placed on a parallelogram-shaped platform that serves as its basic structure. Three linear actuators are attached to the platform, allowing it to rotate, move up and down, and extend and retract the attached tool.
Origami-inspired miniature robot assembledusing the latest technologies and composite materials. Ultra-thin linear actuators are composed of a piezoelectric ceramic material that deforms to transmit motion in response to changes in the electric field. Working in conjunction with optical sensors, such a system ensures movement along the required trajectory.
In one of the tests, the team forced the robotperform a simulated remote operation in which he simulated the movement of a human hand moving a handle-like tool. The scientists asked a person to look through a microscope to draw a tiny square smaller than the tip of a ballpoint pen, and then repeated the task using a robot. A mechanical surgeon was 68 percent more accurate than a human.
The main advantage of the developed prototyperobot, scientists call ease of operation, compactness and light weight. Currently, the mechanism is being finalized and an even more accurate positioning system is being created.