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VWN Printer Friendly News: Painting robot lends surgeons a hand

 Painting robot lends surgeons a hand
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Date posted: 04/02/2014
Posted by: Site Administration
This story is from the category
Embodiment

Would you let an artist perform life-saving surgery on you?

You might someday, if the artist is a painting robot.

Timothy Lee built a robotic painting arm that can replicate the lines and shapes a surgeon makes with a scalpel using a paintbrush and canvas. His invention, a creative blend of art and science, could one day lend doctors a hand in practicing complex, robot-assisted surgeries without having to step foot in an operating room.

Lee, a sophomore who plans to major in chemistry, spent his high school years building everything from a robot that can balance on a beam to a robotic arm that can throw a ball. During his first year at Wake Forest, he heard about a percussion-playing robot designed by Georgia Tech researchers and started thinking about new ways to apply his hobby.

“I never really thought you could do music with robots,” he said. “That got me thinking, ‘What else can you do with robots that most people wouldn’t think about or imagine happening?’ I thought I could do something with painting and that prompted the idea of robotic surgery.”

Lee said painting and surgery have more in common than initially meets the eye. A painter has to be nimble and precise with his brushstrokes much like a surgeon must be nimble and precise with a scalpel.

“When you are dissecting a part of the human body, you have to be one hundred percent perfect,” he said. “If you think about painting something like the Mona Lisa, you have to be perfect with your brush.”

With the support of a grant from the Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities (URECA) Center, Lee teamed up with Craig Hamilton, an associate professor of biomedical engineering at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, and got to work on his mechanical arm.

See the full Story via external site: news.wfu.edu