A small robot will simulate remotely controlled surgery on the ISS

A small robot will simulate remotely controlled surgery on the ISS

Shawn Crimmins, an engineering graduate student at the University of Nebraska, loads a robotic arm into a case Aug. 11 before a vibration test.

MIRA, which stands for “miniature robotic on-site assistant” [miniaturized in vivo robotic assistant]He recently became the first surgical robot on the International Space Station (ISS).

The tiny robot weighing about a kilogram arrived at the space station on February 1. Over the next few weeks, the robot assistant will practice working in zero gravity. The developers plan to use MIRA to simulate surgical operations by remote control, where the surgeon will direct its movements from a distance.

“The robot is capable of simulating work with surgical tissues with tension that allows dissection,” the University of Nebraska said in a release. The robot “will use its left hand to grasp and its right hand to cut, like a human surgeon in a hospital operating room.”

The robot was developed by Virtual Incision Corporation, which is based in Lincoln, Nebraska. Its creation was made possible by a partnership between NASA and the University of Nebraska.

Potentially, a space mission could help pave the way for long-distance space travel medicine, but MIRA’s inventors hope their version of robotic surgery will most benefit healthcare on Earth, especially in areas without access to local surgeons.

“When we started this work at the University of Nebraska, we had a shared vision that miniRAS could make robotic surgery accessible to any patient, anytime, anywhere,” says Shane Faritor, co-founder of the company. Virtual Incision. “Exploring miniRAS in extreme settings is helping our teams understand how we can remove barriers for patients.”

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