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 Snakelike Robots for Heart Surgery

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Date posted: 04/04/2008

A snakelike surgical robot from Carnegie Mellon University could let a surgeon performing a critical heart operation make just one incision.

Known as the CardioArm, the curved robot has a series of joints that automatically adjust to follow the course plotted by the robot's head. This provides greater precision than a flexible endoscope can offer.

The CardioArm is operated using a computer and a joystick. It has 102 degrees of freedom, three of which can be activated at once. This allows it to enter through a single point in the chest and wrap around the heart until it reaches the right spot to, say, remove problematic tissue.

The smallest version of the device is 300 millimeters long and has a diameter of 12 millimetres. Eventually, the CMU researchers hope to make a snake small enough to enter the bloodstream through a blood vessel, says Marco Zenati, one of the principal researchers on the CardioArm project and a professor of surgery at the University of Pittsburgh.

See the full Story via external site: www.technologyreview.com



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