To solve these hypothetical medical problems, especially with a view to sending humans to Mars, which is expected to take place in the 2040s, a robot surgeon that allows certain surgical operations to be carried out autonomously.
LOOK, the robot surgeon that NASA wants
MIRA (‘miniaturized in vivo robotic assistant’) is a miniaturized platform for robotic-assisted surgery (RAS, robotic-assisted surgery). It was designed to deliver the power of a robotic-assisted surgery device in a miniaturized size, with the goal of making this technique accessible in any operating room on the planet…and now beyond.
Although not yet available for sale, MIRA is currently in the final stages of its clinical trial in the United States. With a approximate weight of 900 gramsits small size makes it attractive to surgeons and hospital staff and also makes it ideal for use in the tight space and massive requirements of a long-duration space mission.
The accompanying remote-operated console, with its hand and foot controls, gives the surgeon full control of the MIRA’s instrument arms and a endoscopic view of the anatomy in real time.
Heading to the International Space Station
NASA, the US space agency, provided grant funds to send this miniaturized surgical robot to the International Space Station (ISS/ISS) with the aim of demonstrating how widely accessible robotic surgery technology can be.
The system MIRA will arrive at the ISS in 2024. Once on board, MIRA will operate inside a microwave oven-sized experiment locker and perform activities that simulate those used in surgery, such as cutting simulated tissue and manipulating small objects.
The grant was specifically awarded to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where Virtual Incision co-founder Shane Farritor is a professor of engineering and has led research on the potential use of surgical robots in space. “NASA has ambitious plans for long-duration space travel and it is important to test the capabilities of the technology that can be beneficial during missions”said Farritor, also Virtual Incision’s chief technology officer.
“Mira continues to push the boundaries of what is possible in [cirugía asistida por robot], and we are pleased with its performance so far during clinical trials. We are excited to go one step further and help identify what might be possible in the future as space travel becomes a reality for humanity.”.