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Hexapods: Micro-precision Surgical Assistant for Minimal Invasive Surgery

October 19, 2011 2 comments

Minimal Invasive Surgery or (MIS) is one such important innovation in medical devices to present. There are many benefits that can be derived from a MIS procedure such as: smaller incision, smaller scar, reduced risk of infection and bleeding, less pain and trauma, and decreased length of hospital stay for recovery time.

The product shown below is called Spine Assist. It is an example of a minimal invasive surgical device designed for spine-related surgery.

“With the SpineAssist a spinal fusion intervention can be performed with only a couple small incisions compared to open surgery where a large incision potentially causes more muscle damage. The miniature size of the robot with no need for “line of sight” and its high accuracy simplifies the surgical procedure and minimizes the risk for screw misplacement. Since the robot is rigidly attached to the patient there is no need for a tracking coordinate system. The procedure using the SpineAssist only requires a few fluoroscopic images, adding reduced radiation exposure for the surgeon and the patient as an important benefit to the system.” -Faulhaber Miniature Hexapods

 

The software interface shown above provides the surgeon with pre-surgical planning with automatic fluoroscopic and CT image processing. Intervention, according to the Faulhaber website, using the SpineAssist consists of five steps namely: preoperative planning based on a CT scan of the patient’s spine; rigid fixation of the SpineAssist platform to the patient’s spine; positioning calibration by matching a fluoroscopic image of the bone mounted platform to the CT-image from the preoperative plan; rigid mounting of the SpineAssist robot to the platform; the robot guide arm is now ready to automatically position itself at the exact location according to the preoperative plan and serve as a guiding tool when the surgeon drills or performs some other intervention on the bone.

 

The image above shows a mounted SpineAssist platform during a surgical procedure. To present, this system has been used over 250 cases in hospitals all over the world. What robots can do… 😀

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Fit PC: The Hand-sized Desktop PC for Embedded Robotics

October 13, 2011 Leave a comment

From Raspeberry Pi to Chip PC and now Fit PC. Yes, it’s another tiny, hand-sized desktop computer. This thing boasts its green design as well at 7-Watts average power consumption, which is twice the greener Chip PC. It’s not as small and gamer friendly (remember the Quake 3 demo) as the Raspberry Pi but it can do things like controlling a hexapod. It’s the black box taped at the rear of the robot…cool!

There are several models of the Fit PC. There’s one that runs 2-GHz, 2-GB RAM, 250-GB hard disk and pre-loaded with Windows 7 Pro. And there’s a stripped down version named, Fit PC Value running 1.1-GHz, 1-GB RAM, attach your own hard disk and install your own OS. The downside is that the price ranges from US$279 to US$707 with the Value being the cheapest and the Win7 Pro as the most expensive. This one costs like a normal PC just made smaller to fit in the hood of a robot much like a beagle board. The difference though is that it’s a stand-alone personal computer when the robot demo is all over. 😀

Hmm, still haven’t blogged on the plug computers so that’s on the list and then we’ll check the Android SDK for robotics support too. Soon we’ll be able to study which platform is best for what application. That’s where we’re heading.