Crab-Like Robot Can Remove Stomach CancerBy: Billy Thomas - February 2, 2012
Like something from a science fiction film, It proceeds to enter the subject’s stomach by way of an endoscope, it’s pincer grasping the tissue, riddled with cancer. Its oblong hook severs the cancerous lesion, coagulating blood to stop bleeding all at the same time. It may sound like a grotesque scene from some sci-fi B-movie, but this machine is, in fact, science fact.
Assisted by a small camera connected to the endoscope, the medical puppeteer can see what’s inside the patient’s stomach and at the same time control the robotic arms all while staring at a monitor.
Enterologist Larry Ho said:
“Our movements [humans] are very huge and if you want to make very fine movements, your hands will tremble … But robots can execute very fine movements without trembling.”
Ho is employed at Singapore’s National University Hospital. He says the robot helped remove early-stage gastric cancer in 5 patients. In addition it only took a fraction of the time, using the robot, than it did manually or by hand.
One source says gastric cancer is the second leading cause of cancer related deaths across the globe and is quite common in east Asia. Diagnosis for the disease usually occurs in the later stages. At that point the cancer is difficult to treat.
Ho developed the robot along with Louis Phee who is an associate professor at Singapore’s Nanyang Technological Institute’s school of mechanical and space engineering. The design for the robot came after the two had crab for dinner one evening. Sydney Chong, the person with whom they were having dinner suggested the device be modeled after the crab. So, Ho and Phee decided to take the advice of Chang and thus the robot crab was born. Ho had this to say about Chung’s Suggestion:
“He suggested we used the crab as as a prototype. The crab can pick up sand and its pincers are very strong.
Ho went on to comment about the crab device saying:
“Many things are a certain way because they have evolved and adapted to certain functions … we created something that followed the human anatomy and borrowed ideas from nature and incorporated the two.”