My good friends at Medgadget.com attended Future Med and covered the whole event through a great series of posts. It’s really worth reading the whole bunch of entries.
Medgadget featured a video in which Dr. James Porter of Swedish Medical Center in Seattle folds a paper airplane with the da Vinci medical robot and attempts to make it fly.
Here is another video in which Dr. James Porter again gives his daughter a manicure with the da Vinci surgical robot to demonstrate how this device gives surgeons greater surgical precision and dexterity over existing approaches.
It’s just getting more and more amazing how robotics can be implemented into healthcare. One of the latest examples belongs to the UCSF Medical Center where they now use robotic pharmacy in order to remove medication errors from the system. The most impressive thing, we think, is that our robot pals have not had a single error since preparing 350,000 doses of meds.
Robots are slowly taking over the world, right? Well, their latest conquest is the pharmacy. The UCSF Medical Center has implemented three robotic pill-dispensing machines that handle and prepare medication that’s dangerous to the common human. The process works as follows: doctor writes a prescription, hospital clerk sends it over to pharmacist, pharmacist enters slip into the computer, robot picks up it and does the dirty work. The automated machine will grab the proper dosage, package it and slap a label indicating instructions and patient info. Rather than fearing for their jobs (or lives), the folks at the UCSF at are excited about this robot-takeover ’cause it increases the time care-givers spend with patients while allowing pharmacists to work more efficiently with physicians in determining what medication to supply.
(Hat tip: Engadget)
Medgadget shared a nice video about the da Vinci robot and the outtakes remained from filming a commercial by the Florida’s Health First hospitals.
And if we mentioned the da Vinci robot, engineers from Johns Hopkins University managed to connect it to the $150 Microsoft’s Kinect 3D controller.
Medgadget just featured a video describing how EMG (electromyography) could be used in tools created for people with disabilities. Here is an excerpt from the Microsoft announcement:
Many human-computer interaction technologies are currently mediated by physical transducers such as mice, keyboards, pens, dials, and touch-sensitive surfaces. While these transducers have enabled powerful interaction paradigms and leverage our human expertise in interacting with physical objects, they tether computation to a physical artifact that has to be within reach of the user.
As computing and displays begin to integrate more seamlessly into our environment and are used in situations where the user is not always focused on the computing task, it is important to consider mechanisms for acquiring human input that may not necessarily require direct manipulation of a physical implement. We explore the feasibility of muscle-computer input: an interaction methodology that directly senses and decodes human muscular activity rather than relying on physical device actuation or user actions that are externally visible or audible.
Medgadget reported about the walking humanoid, PETMAN, developed by Boston Dynamics. I have never seen such a realistic movement from a robot.
I tried to find other similar videos just to highlight the difference:
And a walking robotic dog:
Jeffrey Dach used one of my recent posts (Personalized Medicine: Real Clinical Examples!) as a reference in his article describing the future of medicine. It’s a quite detailed and comprehensive essay about several fields of medicine and he doesn’t forget to mention personalized medicine and its impact on the future of healthcare:
Personalized Medicine is the combination of these two new powerful forces, Orthomolecular Medicine and Genetic Testing. In the future, Personalized Medicine will expand and ultimately play a dominant role in medicine. Example: Warfarin Genetic Testing allows improved calibration of coumadin dosage to avoid bleeding complications. Drug metabolism testing allows for personal modification of drug dosage.
Orthomolecular and personalized medicine together?
We will be able to sequence the entire genome of an individual human in milliseconds. The cost will be minimal and within the means of the average person.
Individuals will have ability to reprogram our own sperm and eggs. One will be able to buy new genes on the internet based on desired traits and features, and use these genes to make one’s own children as easily as buying a copy of Microsoft office.
My comment: If the government gets involved, then this sounds a lot like Aldous Huxley’s, Brave New World.
Example of this new biotechnology: Human genes are inserted into microbes to make insulin. We will see a dramatic increase in gene therapies and treatments.
Well, I think and hope many of these will never come true, but it’s interesting to see how others predict the future. This fantastic video tries to show us some plans and projects that can really shape this century:
If you would like to know more about the future,
The R & D Magazine asked some researchers from around the world to choose and present the best innovations of 2007 at the forefront of technology.
The editors of R&D Magazine are proud to announce the winners of the 45th Annual R&D 100 Awards. This annual competition recognizes the best in innovation—on a global scale. Indeed, the products and technologies highlighted on the following pages are among the most innovative ideas from today’s technology powerhouses in academia, government, and industry, worldwide.
Here is my selection from the field of medicine:
- Active Protection System is a unique protective textile that instantly becomes rigid upon impact, but remains flexible and breathable when protection is not required. The System consists of a three-dimensional spacer fabric treated with a silicone coating. Versatile, durable and lightweight, it can be incorporated directly into a wide range of products to provide unprecedented levels of safety.
- The INSORB® Subcuticular Skin Stapler is designed to combine the cosmetic result of absorbable sutures with the rapid closure times associated with metal skin staplers, while eliminating the need for metal staple removal post-operatively.
- VaxDesign is an emerging biotechnology company that combines immunology with engineering to find elegant, practical solutions to complex biological problems. They develop in vitro assays of the human immune system that are functionally equivalent to the human immune system.
- The pneumothorax detector system consists of two components. A control module provides power for the circuitry and MIR sensor, and also houses a processing system to analyze incoming data and detect the presence or absence of a pneumothorax. A probe unit is connected to the main control module and an antenna for sending out the MIR pulse, and detecting the reflected signal. Novel, high speed data acquisition and processing electronics in the control module acquire the data in real time.
- Ultra-High-Resolution Mammography System (UHRMS) that equips doctors with a low-cost, high-quality alternative to digital radiography (currently the most popular mammographic technology at leading hospitals).
- Researchers don’t necessarily have to attend a meeting in person to get something out of it. Virtual conferences are a growing trend; they have recently been held on topics including nanoscale structures, animal diseases, amphibian conservation, and climate change. One of the largest such events is the Virtual Conference on Genomics and Bioinformatics (VCGB)… Attendees to VCGB gather at local nodes linked together using Access Grid, a virtual collaboration system developed at Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois. (Science)
Don’t hesitate to tell us if you find better ones.