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Robotic snake slithers through body, detects tumors

Posting in Cancer

We may not have a Prometheus-style surgery pod on our hands just yet, but doctors across the globe are slowly beginning to embrace other types of robots in the operating room.

One such automated medical device? The cancer-detecting robot snake.

Developed by engineers at Britain’s OC Robotics, the mechanical snake has been designed to slither through the human body, both identifying and removing hard-to-reach tumors. The idea is that the snake would be guided by a nearby surgeon and wouldn’t require the patient to be opened up.

While the snake is still only a prototype, researchers are optimistic about its potentially non-invasive qualities.

BBC News reports:

Snake robots could be as minimally invasive as possible with today's technology — they would use body orifices or local incisions as points of entry, says Rob Buckingham, managing director at OC Robotics.

They would allow a surgeon to look and "feel" inside the body — by using cameras and extremely sensitive equipment to provide feedback.

The device was presented earlier this week at the International Conference on Oncological Engineering at the University of Leeds.

[via BBC]

Image: OC Robotics

— By on September 23, 2012, 1:13 PM PST

Sarah Korones

Contributing Editor

Contributing Editor Sarah Korones is a freelance writer based in New York. She has written for Psychology Today and Boston's Weekly Dig. She holds a degree from Tufts University. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure