Medical robots became a part of human life soon after the invention of the first advanced robot. Nowadays, robots are smart enough to conduct a job in warehouses, run a hospital procedure, and find their way into massive shopping centers. Automaton and robotic technology advances are now unavoidable. New inventions have been made on every passing day, and people have come to such a stage that they operate in an organization with the computer. Even for the future, they are skeptical that a robot will take their work. Developments in automation have made medical robots enter many medical fields, especially surgery and rehabilitation. A robot can be a member of staff at hospitals in the near future. Medical robots have significant benefits for patients as opposed to conventional approaches such as improved diagnosis, smaller incision, higher precision, lower risk of infection, shorter healing period, and longer lifespan.
The creation of medical robots can be studied shortly considering three successive generations, namely robots of the first generation (such as PUMA, Scara, and Delta), robots of the second generation (such as AESOP), and robots of the third generation (such as the da Vinci Surgical System). The first-generation robots were not specially designed for medical purposes. They were adapted to perform medical tasks. The first procedure was conducted in 1985 with the use of the robot manipulator PUMA 560, which has a surgical arm fixed on its end-effector. This manipulator did a suitable neurochirurgica biopsy. This project helps the experts in robotics to develop new-generation medicine robots. Contrary to the first-generation robots, medical robots of the second generation have been designed particularly for medicinal purposes.AESOP is in the Medical robots of the second generation. Computer Motion developed AESOP in 1990, becoming the first robotic device approved for medical robotics operations by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). After the 2000s, the robotic manipulators of the third generation were designed and manufactured. These robotic manipulators, such as the da Vinci Surgical System, have been mainly designed to perform complex surgical and medical procedures. Although the most sophisticated robots were designed for surgery procedures, and people around the world were primarily interested in these impressive robotic systems, robotic rehabilitation tools were also gaining increased attention from both the medical community and patients. In this chapter, we will shortly identify the current status and designs of robotic systems in two major fields (surgery and rehabilitation).
Rehabilitation aims at helping patients regain their damaged skills and get back to their stable everyday lives. Robotic rehabilitation offers patents for conducting such complex tasks to recover skills. In particular, rehabilitation robots are used to support different forms of sensorimotor functions such as the head, hands, and legs. Patients have been seen to become familiar with day by day rehabilitation robots as the technology provides more options and sophisticated robotic rehabilitation systems. Robotic rehabilitation can be divided into two main parts, namely rehabilitation of the upper extremities and rehabilitation of lower extremities. There are many types of medical robotic systems planned and manufactured for the restoration of the upper and lower extremities.
Upper extremity robotic rehabilitation devices
Motor functions in upper extremity sections (shoulder, elbow, or writs) can be impaired from different forms of events such as sports accidents, trauma, occupational injuries, childhood cerebral palsy, and adult stroke. The disability at the upper extremity in other respects, such as socially and economically, deteriorates the patient’s life. Hence patients must regain their motor functions and return as soon as possible to their everyday lives. The number of patients suffering from sections of the upper extremity is very high. The number of rehabilitation therapists at the clinics is currently tiny. Rehabilitation therapists also can not treat all these patients in the present situation.
Another problem for patients is that recovery treatments are costly; hence, it’s quite hard to afford. Robotic therapy systems are the future candidates for restoring all the damaged motor functions of the patient even though they are currently not widely commercial in the world. Manufacturing more and cheaper robotic therapy tools can be said to be a must to serve all the patients.
The development of upper extremity robotic rehabilitation systems began in the early 1990s. Several medical robotic therapy systems at the upper extremities have been developed since the 1990s. Some essential aspects can be summarized when designing robotic rehabilitation devices as inexpensive, low mass, compactness, safe operation, easy to use, portability and home some recent robotic rehabilitation equipment at the upper extremity can be identified as follows: Mit-Manus, Reharob, Armin, Caden-7, Medarm, Esa human arm exoskeleton, L-exos, Armor, and Sarcos Master Arm. As can be seen from the above studies, many robotic therapy systems at the upper extremity have typically been developed as prototypes. Compared to the number of patients, the number of robotic rehabilitation tools marketable is still very small.
Lower extremity robotic rehabilitation devices:
There are many robotic therapy systems at the lower extremity that have been developed up to now. Some of them may be identified as follows: Alex, Altraco, Arthur, LokoHelp, Lokomat, Lopez, ReoAmbulator, and String-Man. While many robotic rehabilitation devices with lower extremities have been produced as prototypes or for scientific research purposes, only Lokohelp, Lokomat, and ReoAmbulator have been marketed. One of LokoHelp’s well-known commercialized robotic therapy systems is an electromagnetic gait system that trains neurological patients with compromised walking skills.LokoHelp was tested in multiple training sessions, and findings indicate that LokoHelp is feasible as a robotic therapy device in severely affected people with brain damage, stroke, and spinal cord injury.
The other well-known robot-assisted Lokomat gait trainer consists of a treadmill, a bodyweight support system, and an orthosis robotic doorway. It supports people with severe neurological disorders. The studies indicate that Lokomat offers successful preparation and high percentages of future recovery. The ultimate commercialized robotic rehabilitation tool for the lo
we’re extremity is ReoAmbulator, which is also a robotic treadmill system powered by body weight.
The Role of AI in Medical Robotics :
Surgical robots are able to precisely monitor the direction, depth, and speed of their movements. They are especially well-suited for procedures involving the same, repetitive movements as they can operate without fatigue. Even robots can go where conventional tools can’t. Training inside the Operating Room is indispensable. The longer the doctors can manage to conduct surgery, the smoother, however physically exhausting surgical operations can be. A lack of motor skills can hinder the skills and experience that surgeons amass throughout their careers.
In surgical robotics, artificial intelligence is applied. Manufacturers see the need to automate in-depth learning data instead of actions controlled by an engineer who doesn’t know all of the scenarios. This deep machine learning data is gathered from surgeons watching to operate. Thanks to this data and complex algorithms, AI may determine trends inside surgical procedures to improve best practices and enhance the control accuracy to submillimeter precision of surgical robots. AI with machine vision is often used to interpret scans and to identify cancerous cases.
Physical designs for medical robots will continue to evolve, reducing costs and scale, while mitigating or compensating for non-ideal such as flexion, such as the CRIGOS robot. Semiautonomous action is likely to become more efficient, with improved physical designs. “Macros” may become commonplace in which the surgeon clicks a button, and the robot performs a pre-programmed operation, such as moving a suture needle between graspers or the auto-retracting function of the Sensei.
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