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Virtual Reality Helmet Designed For Deep Space Surgery

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the wearing-the-doctor-hat dept.

Mars 83

pigrabbitbear writes in with a link about a virtual reality helmet designed to help people deal with medical emergencies in space. "Humans are pretty fragile. A bad break in your hip can mean surgery and months of rehab. That's pretty bad, but what if you fall and break your hip on the Moon, or even Mars? You'd be hundreds of thousands or millions of miles from a fully stocked hospital and a surgeon with steady hands. There's the option of doctor-assisted surgery from Earth — a fellow astronaut performing the surgery with remote assistance from a doctor via video link. But the lengthy communications delay make this a poor option anywhere further than the Moon. Luckily for our Mars-bound descendants, the European Space Agency has a solution: an information-loaded assisted reality helmet that will let anyone identify and perform minor surgery to repair injuries."

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"You Knew the Job Was Dangerous, When You Took it, (1)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 2 years ago | (#38970779)

Fred."
http://people.tribe.net/turtle/photos/2dbfad5a-28c5-499d-a624-e02c1f526c2a [tribe.net]

Break your hip on the Moon? Who'd you think you were, trying to be all "Michael Jackson" with that footwork?

One word: Lag (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#38971011)

If you thought a half-second of lag was a bitch in the middle of your CS game, wait until you have to deal with 45 minutes of lag in the middle of your zero-G surgical procedure!

Obligatory Car Analogy (3, Interesting)

virgnarus (1949790) | more than 2 years ago | (#38970781)

link [popsci.com]

even better than earth surgery (1)

meeotch (524339) | more than 2 years ago | (#38970835)

Because with the latency, by the time they get around to actually cutting you open, you'll already be healed, and won't have to do the surgery at all!

Always about Size (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38970841)

Simple. Just bring a large spaceship with a crew of half a million. There's bound to be some doctors on board. Our concepts for aircraft and spacecraft are small and slow, you can't do anything interesting with it. But on larger scales one can bring several reactors and a small city with them, which would also be needed for trips longer then 20 lightyears.

Re:Always about Size (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#38971063)

I think resident hyper-pessimist QA read something like this and it broke his mind.

"Simple, we'll just launch a whole city into space! And then travel many lightyears like it's no big deal! I mean DUH it's not rocket science guys!"

Re:Always about Size (2)

sconeu (64226) | more than 2 years ago | (#38971185)

I think GP was reading too much James Blish recently, and got a bit... "spindizzy".

Re:Always about Size (2)

justforgetme (1814588) | more than 2 years ago | (#38971919)

Luckily he wasn't reading Iain Banks because then we'd all die. Ohh wait, we still will... nvm.

Re:Always about Size (2)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 2 years ago | (#38971243)

The article summary here is wrong, as it uses the term "deep space", but they're really talking about injuries happening on Moon or Mars missions, which are nowhere near "deep space". AFAIC, "deep space" is interstellar space, someplace we've never been.

This helmet thing might be OK for problems on the Moon, as it's only a few light-seconds away IIRC. But Mars? Forget it. It takes ~15 minutes for a signal to get there from Earth.

The previous AC is right; we need to think bigger. Maybe generation ships to the stars are a little ways out, but we need to do a lot more than just sending 4 people into space at a time to go hit golf balls.

Re:Always about Size (3, Informative)

droopus (33472) | more than 2 years ago | (#38971387)

Hey why not actually RTFA?

The whole point of CAMDASS is to eliminate communication delays by making the entire unit autonomous, with all the data necessary for surgery already on board.

Re:Always about Size (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 2 years ago | (#38971493)

Hey why not actually RTFA?

You're new here, aren't you? (Or, judging by your UID, you must have joined early on, then took a long vacation from Slashdot and only recently came back.) :-)

blood will clot in zero gravity? (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#38970845)

Lets judge the article by the other statements in the article...

That is, once we figure out things like whether tissue will repair and blood will clot in zero gravity.

I'm old enough to have cut the top of my head, and the bottom of my feet, and I haven't bled out yet, in fact healed nicely. So, two datapoints +/- 1 G WRT the direction of the wound is ok. Then we've got quasi-horizontal surfaces, where the G force WRT the direction of the wound is zero, and that clots. So we're all good everywhere from +1 to -1 G just by geometry. Now I know for a fact direct pressure helps wounds clot or close, so I'd give it up to maybe +5 G assuming + is toward wound. High accelerations away from the surface of the wound... I'd have to think about that one... I suppose apply a bandaid to fix the surface tension issue and you're all good.

I've never heard of zero-g hemophilia on the ISS. I am pretty sure I've seen ISS/shuttle era astronauts wearing bandaids. So in practice it doesn't seem to be an issue.

Sooooooo WTF?

Re:blood will clot in zero gravity? (1)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38971313)

There doesn't seem to be much on it that I can find on google, except a Washington Post article from 11 years ago, but apparently even minor wounds heal slowly (or not at all) in space. As for the blood clotting... IDK, maybe they are thinking because the blood won't pool up on your skin but float free? Not a problem with minor cuts, but in surgery I imagine it could be a huge issue. Basically, if you cut a vein, the blood can flow forth freely, which it doesn't do on Earth since the pooling blood clots and helps block further bleeding. I'm just guessing, though.

Re:blood will clot in zero gravity? (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#38973663)

I don't think the static pressure of an inch of blood is relevant compared to blood pressure. If a "typical BP" is around 100 mmHg and atmospheric pressure is around 750 mm Hg then your blood pours out around 1/7th an atmosphere delta. Now a 1 atm water column is a whoppin 30 something feet. A seventh that is around 4 or so feet. So if your buried beneath 4 feet of blood, then the pressure of the blood will have a substantial effect on flow rate. This would seem to imply that the pressure of the blood in your feet and head changes quite a bit laying down vs standing up. In fact, it does and there's lots of Fing around in your circulatory system to deal with it.

I think you Might be confusing square/cube issues. So the rate that blood pours out of a wound is a constant volume cube thing. So the rate that a puddle's radius/diameter expands on the floor declines at a cube root over time, roughly.

Torture Tools (1)

Suki I (1546431) | more than 2 years ago | (#38970847)

So, the idea is sending all of the doctor and dentist torture tools into space, along with a handy dandy user's manual disguised as a helmet. What about just having a crew member who is a surgeon too?

Re:Torture Tools (3, Funny)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#38970867)

Then you'd have to listen to endless "damnit Jim, I'm a doctor not an engineer". Maybe if she's kinda hot in a milf-y way, but what if she has a pesky son on board... I suppose its inevitable, eventually.

Re:Torture Tools (1)

Suki I (1546431) | more than 2 years ago | (#38970991)

Then you'd have to listen to endless "damnit Jim, I'm a doctor not an engineer". Maybe if she's kinda hot in a milf-y way, but what if she has a pesky son on board... I suppose its inevitable, eventually.

Oh no, was not thinking that at all. Was more along the lines of an engineer who is also a surgeon, or a geologist who is also a surgeon, etc.

Re:Torture Tools (1, Insightful)

RazzleFrog (537054) | more than 2 years ago | (#38971101)

I think it is pretty hard to be "also a surgeon". Might make more sense to have a surgeon who is also something else. I'd rather have a surgeon who dabbles in engineering or geology than an engineer who dabbles in surgery.

Re:Torture Tools (2)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#38971355)

I think it is pretty hard to be "also a surgeon". Might make more sense to have a surgeon who is also something else. I'd rather have a surgeon who dabbles in engineering or geology than an engineer who dabbles in surgery.

Actually, for simple things that you might do to healthy adults, it's not that far fetched. Think orthopedics, appendectomies and lacerations. They're pretty easy to teach. The problem with more complex stuff (like the hip fracture) is that you need lots of pieces parts. Special drills, special screws and plates, etc. For bad vascular accidents like a major blunt force trauma you'd need various bits of mesh, artificial blood vessels and such. Yeah, you can envision printing them out on some wizzo 3D printer, but we're not there quite yet.

It's not the instructions that are hard in surgery. You can download detailed anatomical guides on the Internet - it's the manipulative skill of not pulling the blood vessel apart when you're trying to sew it, the graphical skill of visualizing the organ in question after it's been run over by a truck and is bleeding, the clinical skill of how to structure the repair (what goes in first, what not to tug on) and then there is nursing, respiratory therapy, pharmacy, lab and a bunch of other little neglected bits.

Sounds like playing doctor to me.

Re:Torture Tools (0)

RazzleFrog (537054) | more than 2 years ago | (#38971487)

That really is my point. Somebody with all the knowledge but without the years of experience behind it is really useless. That's why it takes so long to become a surgeon in the first place.

Re:Torture Tools (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#38973537)

Biologist botanist sociologist.. all would probably fit pretty well.

There must be someone out there who graduated with a BSEE or BS in geology and later went on to medical school to become a surgeon.

Re:Torture Tools (1)

Suki I (1546431) | more than 2 years ago | (#38987789)

Biologist botanist sociologist.. all would probably fit pretty well.

There must be someone out there who graduated with a BSEE or BS in geology and later went on to medical school to become a surgeon.

Yep, now there is my point. Besides, every surgeon majored in something undergrad, many majored in something else besides pre-med.

Re:Torture Tools (5, Funny)

Karlb (87776) | more than 2 years ago | (#38971105)

Then you'd have to listen to endless "damnit Jim, I'm a doctor not an engineer". Maybe if she's kinda hot in a milf-y way, but what if she has a pesky son on board... I suppose its inevitable, eventually.

Oh no, was not thinking that at all. Was more along the lines of an engineer who is also a surgeon, or a geologist who is also a surgeon, etc.

Wormhole specialist who is also a Gynecologist ?

Re:Torture Tools (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38973583)

Not to forget the proctologist who is also an expert on Uranus!

Re:Torture Tools (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39053595)

You don't want to build wormholes in there!

Re:Torture Tools (2)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#38971291)

Astronauts have a great variety of skills. A doctor could also conduct biological or chemical experiments. And it's not like she wouldn't do anything when someone isn't ill, having a skilled person to constantly monitor the health of the crew would lead to a better understanding of the effects of space on the human body, and would also help to detect problems early before they become serious.

Re:Torture Tools (2)

SomePgmr (2021234) | more than 2 years ago | (#38971395)

At that point all they have to do is wave an all-knowing tricorder over the wounded and occasionally inject you with the appropriate magic hypospray, so qualifications don't much seem to matter.

This helmet has +5 INT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38970891)

but -3 CHA and -3 DEX

just in time training... (1)

schlachter (862210) | more than 2 years ago | (#38970917)

wow, a whole new meaning to "just in time training"

and when it's most needed... (1)

schlachter (862210) | more than 2 years ago | (#38970939)

>> I thought you packed the helmet!
> Oh, damn, it's not here.

The hardware is the easy part (1)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#38970943)

But writing software that can diagnose the cause of an illness and guide an untrained person through a surgery won't happen anytime soon. The best this tool can do is storing some general medical knowledge and "projecting" it to the patients body. Just put a doctor on board.

Geriatric astronaughts? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38971005)

I would think you would have to fall from pretty high up in order to break your hip on the moon.

Re:Geriatric astronaughts? (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#38971099)

Maybe the next moon mission will include a moon dirtbike and some moon ramps.

Wait,what??? (1)

fatbuckel (1714764) | more than 2 years ago | (#38971051)

"what if you fall and break your hip on the Moon?" What with all that gravity up there and all.

Re:Wait,what??? (1, Troll)

RazzleFrog (537054) | more than 2 years ago | (#38971297)

Spend enough time in zero/low gravity and your bones become more brittle.

Helmet for patient (1)

avandesande (143899) | more than 2 years ago | (#38971055)

How about a patient helmet that does vitals/anesthesia?

Why limit it to space? (2)

NoKaOi (1415755) | more than 2 years ago | (#38971061)

TFA mentions wider applications, such as first responders, antarctica, 3rd world countries, and other remote locations. It seems like that would be a much larger user base than space. Why is the focus so much on space applications? It seems like something that would be so useful on Earth, that could also happen to be used in space, not the other way around.

Re:Why limit it to space? (2)

Bardwick (696376) | more than 2 years ago | (#38971209)

I've had several health care customers that have spent millions on real time HD video patient diagnosis and treatment systems. Doctors just flat out will not use it. They are too uncertain about the legal liabilities, billing, regulation and so forth. Not sure how this would scale for first responders, 3rd world countries and remote locations (baby uses a lot of juice). Although maybe that will shake out as a result of the research.

Re:Why limit it to space? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38971229)

I consider America a 3rd world country.

Re:Why limit it to space? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38981679)

Which "America" ? North or South?

Re:Why limit it to space? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38971255)

Because NASA is used to paying too much for stuff?

Re:Why limit it to space? (1)

mbone (558574) | more than 2 years ago | (#38971323)

Space tends to be tougher, and space agencies tend to have money to develop such things. Also, if can get it to work there, then the ground applications are probably fairly straight-forward.

Re:Why limit it to space? (1)

mutherhacker (638199) | more than 2 years ago | (#38975055)

Why is the focus so much on space applications?

This project was originally an academic project from what I understand [Scholar [google.com] ]. In order to get something like this published you need to demonstrate it's feasibility and it's usefulness in some scenario. That's why they came up with the space scenario. In space the helmet would not impede the wearer so much (weight is the number one issue that hinders all HMD's). On earth you'd have this huge bulky thing strapped to your head, wires pulling you down, making it rather ineffective.

way2profit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38979137)

Why to lose money when it’s so easy to find your way2profit by trading in Indian stock market

When did hip surgery become minor? (1)

CanadianMacFan (1900244) | more than 2 years ago | (#38971083)

It mentions falling and breaking your hip. Then as a solution this helmet that will help you perform minor surgery. Hip repair/replacement is pretty major surgery.

Re:When did hip surgery become minor? (2)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 2 years ago | (#38971321)

Unless you're really old (in which case you wouldn't be going to the Moon any time soon), breaking your hip does not mean hip replacement surgery. That's for people who have major arthritis problems and the femur/pelvis joints don't work right any more.

I broke my hip when I was in college (actually, the sacrum, which connects the pelvis to the spine). It was a small fracture, so I just had to keep weight off of it for 6 weeks with a crutch.

Mars,, That far from home... (1)

Oswald McWeany (2428506) | more than 2 years ago | (#38971093)

Regarding the Mars comments:

Even if you get a doctor on mars- or the medical know-how you won't necessarily have the medical supplies of a hospital on earth. If you get bit by a venomous snake- you can almost guarantee they won't have the right anti-venom handy. Snakes on a space-plane would be a disaster.

Seriously though. We need to accept the risks- the first manned mission to mars will be a lonely one-way slow-suicide mission. The first men on mars will be the first men to die on mars.

We need to first send people willing to accept that they are laying down the groundworks for a future colony and that they can't realistically expect to come home or have first class accomidations or healthcare. Instead they get the immortality of knowing they were the first men there and that they will have dozens of moons, asteroids, planets, space cities named after them throughout the millenia.

There would be no shortage of volunteers for such a crazy mission. It simply costs too much to get there and back- getting there is less than half the cost. The first men setup the base. The next wave brings in the doctors.

Re:Mars,, That far from home... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38971137)

Snakes on a space-plane would be a disaster.

Not if you have successfully genetically engineered a giant hamster/mongoose hybrid to serve as both work-rodent and snake removal!

Snakes on a space-plane would be a disaster. (2)

sconeu (64226) | more than 2 years ago | (#38971151)

A new movie with Samuel L. Jackson

I'm sick and tired of these mother-f**ing SNAKES ON THIS Mother-F***ING SPACE PLANE!!!

misdirected efforts? (1)

shadowrat (1069614) | more than 2 years ago | (#38971107)

I can't get to the article because of a content filter. The summary implies that this is some kind of augmented reality thing that can recognize a human and pop up some text and arrows saying, "make incision here." etc. That certainly sounds cool, but If we are capable of producing software that can diagnose an injury and monitor the surgery, why even send people? Can't we just make software capable of driving a buggy around on the moon and picking up some dirt to send back to us?

Re:misdirected efforts? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38971259)

It's the macho thing to do, and the people portrayed in the photo are definitely male. (TIC)

I am a medical student, (3, Interesting)

tpjunkie (911544) | more than 2 years ago | (#38971181)

I have to ask, why not just send a physician along to any long term deep space mission? There are 5 aerospace medicine residency programs in the country, not to mention the fact that anyone applying for the astronaut positions at NASA gets credited with "work experience" for having completed an MD degree. I believe there are even a few currently active astronauts who are physicians. There isn't much substitute for someone who actually knows what they're doing, and as a (near legendary) trauma surgeon/professor at my medical school is fond of repeating, you can pack a "black bag" with about 10 pounds of equipment that will have you ready for just about anything in the woods, from a emergency tracheostomy to an open appendectomy.

I agree. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38971251)

Computers aren't always the solution.

Re:I am a medical student, (1)

mbone (558574) | more than 2 years ago | (#38971283)

I think this depends a lot on the staffing. If you have a 3 person crew, you are unlikely to staff a physician. If you have a dozen or more, I think you should.

Even if you do send a Doctor, physicians do get sick and have accidents, and there is the famous case where the South Pole's Stations Doctor had to operate on herself [wikipedia.org] . And, of course, if your physician dies, you will need a plan B.

You would need 2 or more. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38971397)

Astronauts on such a mission would have to be swiss army knives as is due to how few could be sent. You can't send a dedicated physician, he has to have another task to work on and the question has to be asked, what if he gets hurt? You'll need another. I agree that this helmet, or any computer solution, isn't "the answer", but it sure as heck could prove to be a good aid.

Perhaps that's it, we'll have the physician astronauts and the "red shirt" astronauts. The two physicians will never be allowed next to one another.

Re:I am a medical student, (1)

g0bshiTe (596213) | more than 2 years ago | (#38971655)

10 pounds, really? I can do that with a ball point pen, suchers or liquid glue, and a sharp knife. Granted it wouldn't be the ideal toolkit but in a pinch it beats the alternative.

Seriously though you are spot on. Every member of the crew should have at least adequate training as a field medic.

And would you really want to operate on someone in zero gravity? Even on Mars inside the station/ship whatever how sterile could it be? Not to mention this assumes they will be sending painkillers a bit stronger than aspirin or ibuprofen as well as antibiotics.

Re:I am a medical student, (1)

tpjunkie (911544) | more than 2 years ago | (#38971897)

Well, that'll handle the trach, but if you can do an open appy with a pen and a knife, I'd be seriously impressed. Anyway, the "black bag" includes drape, sterile gloves, scalpel (he later explained how to get those onto planes), basic surgical tools, 3 different IV antibiotics, strong narcotic analgesics (he was less forthcoming about these), and a variety of other things, for various contingencies. There are a number of issues with operating in free-fall, dealing mostly with positioning, and being unable to get gravity assisting you in moving viscera and blood around. I would thing sterility would be a somewhat lesser concern that could be addressed with draping and antibiotics. Of course, figuring out which other astronaut gets to be your scrub nurse is a whole different story. In any case, anything beyond the most minor of surgeries is pretty much going to be off the table (zing!).

Re:I am a medical student, (1)

Oswald McWeany (2428506) | more than 2 years ago | (#38971863)

why not just send a physician along to any long term deep space mission?

Because everyone knows it is the nurses that do all the work- and a nursey outfit would be impractical in space.

Re:I am a medical student, (1)

izomiac (815208) | more than 2 years ago | (#38973207)

I think that's the only viable solution really. There is a reason that a general surgeon receives 9 years of education after college involving one of the most intense residencies. Anatomy is highly variable and computers have not been able to approach an acceptable level of judgement (e.g. 12 lead EKGs are read by the machine first, and are right maybe half the time if it's abnormal).

With surgery, bleeding the the most common complication, and it's easy for the surgical field to become filled with blood, and for the source of bleeding to slip away. Ultrasound isn't going to identify a small bleeding blood vessel, especially with air blocking the signal. Furthermore, bleeding often involves such a tiny perforation that you cannot even see the hole. If ultrasound used such a high frequency sound to have that kind of resolution and powerful enough for the necessary level of penetration it would literally cook the tissue in between. (That's actually one way to cauterize a bleeding vessel in laproscopic surgery, high-frequency sound.)

IMHO, there are three options for handling medical emergencies in space. The first is letting non-medical personnel handle it. Computer guidance may help, but these things are hard. A specialist with a decade of training and twice that in experience in a highly controlled environment runs into problems probably in the single digit percent range across most specialties. For emergencies, I'd expect the complication rate to be in the double digit percents. So, I do not believe letting pilots play doctor (or even nurse) is a good idea. The second option is to do tele-medicine, where a doctor controls a robot. For emergencies or surgery, the minute or longer time lag makes this impossible. The third option is to take physicians into space, which presents logistic problems, but is the best idea if you can't med-evac someone quickly.

Re:I am a medical student, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38984967)

Sounds like a useful kit... details?

Don't Try This at Home ! (1)

mbone (558574) | more than 2 years ago | (#38971215)

Unless you are planning to live in Deep Space. Then, by all means, proceed.

Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38971217)

I am glad to know that repairing a fractured hip is minor surgery now. (I will leave alone the probability of falling and breaking one's hip on the adventure.)

question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38971381)

How do you fall hard enough to break a hip on a on a planet with 1/6th the gravity of earth

You lose nerd points... (1)

g0bshiTe (596213) | more than 2 years ago | (#38971519)

but what if you fall and break your hip on the Moon

Really?

Reptilian shapeshifters (1)

derekmead (2466858) | more than 2 years ago | (#38971561)

The reptiloids have avoided this problem altogether because whenever they're injured they just change their form into something that isn't injured.

Alien knowledge helmet (2)

stabiesoft (733417) | more than 2 years ago | (#38971581)

Sounds like an episode of star trek where the alien woman was not smart, but when she put on the magical helmet, the machine gave her fantastic amounts of knowledge into her brain for a short period of time. Of course, it almost killed bones when he tried to put spocks brain back in his body. The bloody alien tech is just never compatible with us humans.

Re:Alien knowledge helmet (1)

Squidlips (1206004) | more than 2 years ago | (#38972069)

So simple a child could do it Jim (http://www.startrek.de/_files/images/guide/episode_438.jpg). All you need a plexiglass helmut and some lights.

Re:Alien knowledge helmet (1)

biometrizilla (1999728) | more than 2 years ago | (#38972099)

Spock's Brain. Unforgettable line: "Brain and brain, what is brain?" (Stomp foot for effect)

Re:Alien knowledge helmet (1)

stabiesoft (733417) | more than 2 years ago | (#38972499)

Exactly, that line is still perfectly framed in my brain from the tall long dark haired woman in the mini-skirt. And she went from totally dumb to very savvy after they forced the helmut on her to make her do the surgery.

Bad example (1)

Cro Magnon (467622) | more than 2 years ago | (#38971729)

Considering that most astronauts are healthier than average, and considering that gravity is much lower (1/6 on the moon, IIRC 1/3 on Mars) than Earth, I doubt there will be many hip fractures.

Re:Bad example (1)

Oswald McWeany (2428506) | more than 2 years ago | (#38971907)

True... although living in low G causes bones to get weaker. I don't know therefore if our healthy astronaughts after months in space will have weaker hip-bones by the time they reach Mars. (to the moon is negligable).

Why just on Mars? (1)

spagthorpe (111133) | more than 2 years ago | (#38971787)

It sounds like this would be potentially life saving in a lot of places where doctors are not immediately available. Of course, having the necessary supplies for surgery are not always on hand, but having them at hand is cheaper and easier than lugging around a surgeon.

 

There's a lot more to surgery than a cookbook... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38971911)

There's a lot more to surgery than a cookbook can supply.

That's one reason why it takes all those years of med school, plus the services of an anestethist and all the rest of the staff. There are a bazillion little details regarding diagnosis, pre-op, anesthesia, and untold practice making incisions, identifying what's what in there, timing,. teamwork, handling all the unexpected bleeders and anomalies. Not to mention that it takes a lot of learnin' and practice to know instantly what your options are when something unexpected happens. I learned this much just watching tee-vee.

If you just follow a cookbook you're very, very likely to get stuck when you cut through the wrong thing. Right down the road here a young woman died when a surgeon tied off her ureters instead of her tubes. And this was a qualified surgeon.

So you're quite likely to end up with a dead patient. Very annoying, especially if you're stuck with the body for another 230 days in a small spacecraft. I hate when that happens.

Will the commercial version be trustworthy? (1)

FridayBob (619244) | more than 2 years ago | (#38972105)

If this thing ever works as intended, I imagine the next step would be to produce a commercial version. At first it would only be for specialized uses, but the big breakthrough would be when the first general purpose model appears. Connected to the Internet, it would be great to help people with no prior knowledge to e.g. repair a car, or simply cook a tasty meal for themselves with a limited collection of ingredients.

On the other hand, I feel less scrupulous entities would be sorely tempted to use these devices to feed people all kinds of misinformation that would e.g. get them to buy inferior products, make bad investments, vote for the wrong candidates, divulge their bank account numbers, etc. A corporation might end up using this technology to, every once in a while, effectively control large numbers of people.

Does this sound crazy? Well, there have already been plenty of accidents due to people blindly following erroneous satnav instructions. At some point most people just stop thinking about what they're being told to do. Heavy users with poor educations and/or poor critical thinking skills would be the most vulnerable.

Let's hope a FOSS version also becomes available.

What's minor? (1)

Livius (318358) | more than 2 years ago | (#38972237)

Any time you see "minor surgery" you know you're dealing with someone with no understanding of actual surgery. Surgery can be routine, but it's never minor.

Emergency Medical Helmet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38972399)

Please state the nature of the medical emergency.

A broken hip? (1)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 2 years ago | (#38972881)

Is minor surgery?

Speed of light problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38973363)

When Mars and Earth are as close together as possible, it would still take over three minutes for radio waves to travel there from Earth, and another three minutes for them to travel back. How do you perform an operation when the delay is that severe?

EMH? (1)

scharkalvin (72228) | more than 2 years ago | (#38973759)

I am the Emergency Medical Hologram. What is the nature of the medical emergency?

Why would we want to go to Mars? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38976749)

Mars is just a barren rock in the midst of an incomprehensibly vast vacuum. There's absolutely no reason to bother sending humans there--we can find out everything we want to know about the red planet by sending robots (and there's likely very little *to* know, since it is, again, just a big rock).

Moreover, this idea of space colonization as a silver bullet that will resolve all the problems humanity faces is bullshit. People largely fail to understand just how big and just how empty outer space is--there's almost nothing out there to see, and trying to put humans on any celestial body other than the moon would be a massive technological undertaking. Far more important than this are the scientific and social challenges that face us here on Earth--and we'd better resolve them sooner, rather than later, since we're going to be on this tiny blue marble for a very long time.

P.S. The site http://physics.ucsd.edu/do-the-math/ has far more compelling arguments than I give here (including actual numbers!)

Breaking a bone on the moon?! (1)

subreality (157447) | more than 2 years ago | (#38977417)

If you manage to fall and break ANYTHING in 1/6 gravity - let alone a hip! - you're long overdue for some natural selection.

CANNEDASS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38981495)

(There, fixed that for ya)

You have this backwards (1)

Toad-san (64810) | more than 2 years ago | (#38985705)

Send the helmet, not the patient.

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