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Tube Robot Performs Heart Surgery Through a Vein in Your Neck

Concentric Tube Robot
Open heart surgery is dangerous, can be highly invasive and leaves a nasty scar. Doctors often opt for so-called "keyhole" surgery, whereby doctors enter the body through a small tube, and operate remotely with the aid of a video camera. The problem with most of these tools is that they're either inflexible and needle-like, thus requiring a straight line to the operating area, or are soft and flexible, thus incapable of generating much force. Researchers at Boston University have developed a surgical robot to overcome these limitations.

The concentric tube robot uses a series of curved, telescoping tubes to maneuver through the human body without sacrificing the strength to push, pull or cut. The tubes can extend and rotate independently of each other, consequently maximizing flexibility. Surgeons plan the route through the body beforehand, and program it into the robot. They then select the combination of tubes that will allow them to reach their destination. The robot has been successfully tested on pigs, but is still a long way from human trials.

You can watch the robot in action below, but we've got to say, we're kind of confused by the demonstration. If years of playing Operation has taught us one thing about surgery, it's that touching things and making them buzz is bad. [From: New Scientist, Via: Engadget]

Tags: health, heart, medical, robot, robots, surgery, top, tube robot, TubeRobot