R2D2 is a medical robot that can revolutionize eye surgery

The medical robot can assist surgeons to quickly do precision tasks inside the human eye. This is a must read.

Doctors at the Oxford University have created medical history upon completion of their first robot-assisted intraocular surgery.

A team of doctors led by Robert MacLaren, Professor of Ophthalmology at Oxford University have managed to carefully peel out a membrane that is 1/1000th of a millimeter from inside a patient’s eye. The team was assisted by a R2D2, also known as the Robotic Retinal Dissection Device, or R2D2.

Developed by Dutch robotic company, Preceyes BV, which specializes in medical robots, R2D2 has been designed to perform keyhole surgery. It can enter and exit our eyeball using a single sub-milimetre hole.

As you might imagine, it is deadly steady given the tight tolerances within which it has to operate.

7 independent computer controlled motors are used for its navigation within the eye and it can move as little as 1/1000th of a millimetre at a time. R2D2’s precision and steadiness is so high that it can even eliminate the ticking of the heartbeat that can be minutely felt in a surgeon’s hand.

“Current technology with laser scanners and microscopes allows us to monitor retinal diseases at the microscopic level, but the things we see are beyond the physiological limit of what the human hand can operate on,” said Dr. MacLauren. “With a robotic system, we open up a whole new chapter of eye operations that currently cannot be performed.”

To test its capabilities, the surgical team was asked to remove a miniscule membrane that had contracted around a patient’s retina and had distorted his vision. While human doctors, without the assistance of a robot, are told to time their movements between heartbeats, with R2D2’s help it can be completed with ease and within a fraction of the time.

Although R2D2 is still undergoing clinical trials, each more complex than the last, were it to gain the government’s approval, MacLauren states it could become “a vision of eye surgery in the future.”

Do take a look at these in videos.


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