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Eye Surgery By Magnetically Guided Microbots Moves Toward Clinical Trials

samzenpus posted about a year ago | from the here's-a-robot-for-your-eye dept.

Medicine 47

Sabine Hauert writes "According to robotics researcher Simone Schürle from ETH Zurich's Multi-Scale Robotics Lab (MSRL), the OctoMag is a magnetic manipulation system that uses electromagnetic coils to wirelessly guide micro-robots for ophthalmic surgery. With this system, mobility experiments were conducted in which a micro-robot with a diameter of 285 um (about four times the width of a hair) was navigated reliably through the eye of a rabbit, demonstrating the feasibility of using this technology in surgical applications."

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Today is a sad day (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44118129)

Let the legal butt-fucking begin.

Re:Today is a sad day (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44118167)

I wanna fuck your voothole off.

Re:Today is a sad day (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44118251)

Say what you want, but you can't change the FACT that gay sex is unnatural.

FACT: Male and female fit together - Male/male and female/female do not.
FACT: Gays are pedos.
FACT: Homosexuality is unnatural; therefore it is wrong, simple fact.

Re:Today is a sad day (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44118393)

Re:Today is a sad day (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44120159)

The human are natural being. Everything they do is natural. They are also animal, and therefore by your logic, the fact that homosexual do exist should be enough to convince anyone that it is a natural behaviour. Only idiots that believe in fairy tell think that homosexuality is supernatural and the work of the devil.

Re: Today is a sad day (1)

sabbede (2678435) | about a year ago | (#44121467)

Personally, I like to believe that homosexuality is in fact supernatural and/or the work of the devil. Because that makes it so much hotter!

Do not look at magnet with remaining eye (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44118153)

damn lameness filter

Wet Macular Degeneration (4, Interesting)

fizzer06 (1500649) | about a year ago | (#44118181)

I wonder if these could stop blood vessels under the retina from seeping without destroying the retina. I never knew WMD was as common as it is until I got it. The treatment is an injection in the eye every 6 weeks at $2500 each time. Good insurance pays off.

Re:Wet Macular Degeneration (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44120175)

Good insurance pays off.

Or how about a non-third world 'socialized' health insurance like the rest of the civilized country? Even at the inflated price of $2500 it is still less then the social cost of a bunch of blind homeless roaming the street like this is north Korea.

Re:Wet Macular Degeneration (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44121491)

TFA didn't say what diseases it was treating, although it did mention the retina. Macular degeneration is indeed common, I've known several folks who have had it. There is a similar condition that is associated with diabetes, I know a woman who is almost blind from it. She had to quit her bartending job because of her deteriorating sight. Reading the article I thought of the vitrectomy I underwent several years ago when I had a detached retina.

It also made me think that some of the stuff I dreamed up for the book I'm writing (the crude, rough first draft is posted in my /. journal; can't log in on this computer. Some of you have read the draft. It's in the editing stage now) is almost here already. The book is a space opera that revolves around microscopically small robots, although it will be a long time, I think, before nano robots (called "nobots" in the book) reach the stage where my fictional ones are. From TFA:

While many envision a future in which intelligent nanorobots navigate throughout our bodies searching for and destroying disease, researchers are still far from realizing such advanced technologies. However, progress is being made, and the past decade has seen impressive advances in the fabrication, control, and delivery of power to tiny motile devices.

Yep, they're working on nobots!

It's amazing living in the real future! I'm 61, and much of the far-out unbelievable science fiction I read as a kid has already come to pass. In fact, some things today are beyond what even science fiction writers conceived. In the movie Star Trek II, McCoy gives Kirk reading glasses. The writers probably didn't envision the CrystaLens, an artificial eye implant that was FDA approved in 2003. I have one in my left eye. Rather than thick bifocals, I now need no corrective lenses at all!

You young people will look back to now and think "Boy, it sure was primitive back when I was young. How did we ever get along without blabbosnoozers and barglewhoops?

-mcgrew

Dude! (1)

DarthVain (724186) | about a year ago | (#44132185)

Are we not all aware that the NSA is scanning all of our data now?

Stoked (4, Interesting)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | about a year ago | (#44118235)

As I age, I'm getting this accumulation of little maladies that's making me really hanker for advances in surgical technologies. Case in point, I've got an annoying floater in my right eye. They're traditionally hard to treat effectively, I think partially because normal surgical techniques does as much harm as good for this problem. It seems like just the job for a micro-robot that can swim through an eye's vitreous and gather/destroy other small objects.

Re:Stoked (2)

icebraining (1313345) | about a year ago | (#44118323)

The problem is cost; we now have a lot of new toys, but they're often expensive as hell, even in countries with NHSs, and the price of these procedures seems to have barely dropped compared to almost any other are of the tech field.

Re:Stoked (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44119389)

You're talking about healthcare. Everyone must assimilate and submit to 14% per year inflation, regardless of technological improvement.

Re:Stoked (1)

kermidge (2221646) | about a year ago | (#44118601)

Like you, I'm hoping that there will soon be available working remedies, ones better than what is now done, for some of the things beginning to plague my good eye. This potential tool looks promising.

Re:Stoked (2)

formfeed (703859) | about a year ago | (#44119093)

... Case in point, I've got an annoying floater in my right eye. ... It seems like just the job for a micro-robot that can swim through an eye's vitreous and gather/destroy other small objects.

Even better, the robot could upgrade you to the new Google-floater: Just relax and look at the ceiling and you're on the internet.

Re:Stoked (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44119481)

Just try not to lie back and think of England.

Re:Stoked (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44119113)

You are smarter than I was. I did the vitrectomy and got a detached retina...followed my more surgery...followed by cataract....

Re:Stoked (1)

Ryanrule (1657199) | about a year ago | (#44119571)

Hope you are rich, or have exploited your children well.

Re:Stoked (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44121773)

The cure for floaters is a vitrectomy [wikipedia.org] . Believe me, you do NOT want that surgery! The surgery itself isn't bad but the recovery, which lasts from one to two weeks, is pure hell. The vitreous is removed from the eye and replaced with nitrogen gas, and you have to look at the floor until the eye replaces the gas with new vitreous. It's also incredibly dangerous to your eyesight until the vitreous returns and the gas goes away; you could go blind from a sudden change in air pressure. AFAIK a surgeon will only do the procedure to treat a detached retina, which always results in blindness if the surgery isn't performed.

If you get cataracts, have a CrystaLens implanted. Not only does it cure the cataract, it also cures nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. I've had one of those, too. They're about $1000 more than the traditional, non-focusing implant, but not needing glasses after wearing thick ones all my life worth every penny. Best thousand dollars I ever spent (insurance paid the rest).

Rabbit eye (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44118255)

Did anyone else think of Innerspace (1987) [wikipedia.org] ?

Re:Rabbit eye (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about a year ago | (#44118507)

Yep, as soon as I read "mobility experiments were conducted in which a microrobot with a diameter of 285 m (about four times the width of a hair) was navigated reliably through the eye of a rabbit", I thought of that movie.

Re:Rabbit eye (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44118579)

Did anyone else think of Innerspace (1987) [wikipedia.org] ?

Reading a summary referring to eye surgery, Zurich and a researcher named Schürle, the first thing that flashed into my gulliver after me thoughts drifted into hearing the blissful heaven of Beethoven's Ninth was that I'd like to have her right down there on the floor with the old in-out, real savage.

Re:Rabbit eye (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44118649)

That's funny, because the first thing that I thought of after reading your post was s'mofo butter layin' me to da' BONE!

Re:Rabbit eye (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44119387)

What movie did that come from?

Re:Rabbit eye (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44119621)

Airplane.

Re:Rabbit eye (1)

demonlapin (527802) | about a year ago | (#44120617)

This is tragic. Kids, go watch Airplane. Get the uncensored version. Ask someone over 40 if you don't get one of the jokes.

Re:Rabbit eye (1)

dcw3 (649211) | about a year ago | (#44120793)

Agree with parent. Airplane is a must see movie. But as was pointed out, many of the jokes are likely to go unnoticed, or not understood by those who didn't live in or study the era.

Re:Rabbit eye (1)

havana9 (101033) | about a year ago | (#44119955)

I've thinked about Gackeen the magnetic robot. Only really really tiny.

ICP asks: (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44118259)

Fucking magnetically guided microbots, how do they work?

The possibilities... (1)

Ichijo (607641) | about a year ago | (#44118357)

Someday these will be completely automated. Insert in eye, it does a thorough inspection, figures out what's wrong, and fixes it.

Maybe these can also help attach severed nerves and arteries. With the help of someone (or a robot) to hold the pieces together, a syringe full of these could swarm the body of someone who's just been blown to bits and put him back together again before the brain runs out of oxygen.

Re:The possibilities... (1)

foniksonik (573572) | about a year ago | (#44118419)

Looks great for zapping all kinds of anomalies too. Very cool directional technology. Wonder about side effects of em field exposure but not too much as its widely used for diagnostics (f/MRI).

Re:The possibilities... (1)

Bismuthprince (2938227) | about a year ago | (#44118509)

It's always exciting to me when I realize that, yes, we are actually living in the fucking future.
We might miss our flying cars and jetpacks, but only because we've realized there's far more amazing things to research than personal locomotion.

A fully automated robot doing research on Mars;
The possibility of near-limitless amounts of information and communication readily available on large swathes of our populated landmass;
Constructing any sort of object in any sort of shape with a single machine;
YHWH be damned, we've got tiny surgeon robots guided by invisible and indestructive energy (or rather a field property or something, quantum physics confuses me, doy)
A single device catering to most if not all of your needs; being a media player, internet platform, phone, camera, schedule, notebook and whatever someone thinks of cramming right the fook in thur';
Cancer having a real chance of becoming curable in foreseeable time;

There's so much more examples of technological wonders we've grown used to, but would inspire disbelief for anyone born even forty years ago; and more examples like this are added every day.

As such is baseless sentimentality and uninformed hope, lovely.

Re:The possibilities... (1)

Absolutely.Geek (2913529) | about a year ago | (#44118737)

Well I was born 33 years ago and I find none of these things inspire disbelief, maybe if you said some one who was old 40 years ago and possibly dead now.

I know my grandfather was always amazed by what tech I used daily before he died a few years ago at 89yrs. Computers and cell phones were a mistery to him.

Re:The possibilities... (1)

Richy_T (111409) | about a year ago | (#44119089)

42 years and my only disbelief is that we aren't advancing faster in the medical field right now (Not to disparage those working in the field) and that we aren't doing more in space. Many of these trends were already well established by the early 80s.

If you want an inflection point, you probably have to look at when the transistor hit mainstream and pick someone who had already had some life experience by then.

I remember they were doing an interview with a guy who was 100+ years old (this would have been about 20 years ago) and asked him what he thought was the best invention. He said it was tarmac as before, when you came in off the street, your clothes were always dirty from the dust. Goes to show...

Re:The possibilities... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44125329)

42 years and my only disbelief is that we aren't advancing faster in the medical field right now

WTF?? Fifty years ago, cataracts meant going blind for all but a lucky few. Now cataracts mean you no longer need eyeglasses. Fifty years ago they anethstetized you with automotive starting fluid; highly flammable, and a very nasty experience for the patient. Going under was like dying and coming to meant vomiting. Now they say "ok, you're going to sleep now" and the next thing you know you're in the recovery room and it doesn't even seem like you even fell asleep. Things were really, REALLY primitive fifty years ago. Then, any cancer was a death sentence. Now, many are curable. Fifty years ago there were no SSRIs, no Viagra, no Naproxin Sodium (aka "super aspirin"). Fifty years ago gall bladder surgery left an eight inch scar. Now it leaves a berely noticable, tiny scar. We have MRIs, CAT scans, robot surgery... the list goes on. Honestly, medicine has advanced far faster right now than any time in my life (I'm 61).

As to space, you're not paying attention there, either. I won't list the accomplishments, someone else did in another comment.

If you want an inflection point, you probably have to look at when the transistor hit mainstream and pick someone who had already had some life experience by then

No, it would have been at the beginning of the 20th century. When my grandmother was born in 1903 the Wright Brothers had yet to take off. Most people lived exactly like they lived a thousand years earlier -- no indoor plumbing, no electricity, horses and mules were transportation, heat was from a fireplace, light was from candles and oil lamps.

Re:The possibilities... (3, Funny)

NFN_NLN (633283) | about a year ago | (#44119171)

Someday these will be completely automated. Insert in eye, it does a thorough inspection, figures out what's wrong, and fixes it.

Please, don't limit your imagination like that. Inserting something in your eye is so barbaric.

Now imagine... someday these will be completely automated. Insert magnetically controlled robot in your ass....

Re:The possibilities... (1)

VanessaE (970834) | about a year ago | (#44119631)

Well, there's a delicate corneal inversion procedure... a multi-opti-pupil-optomy. But, in order to keep from damaging the eye sockets, they've got to go in through the rectum.

Ocular Oncology (3, Informative)

BenJeremy (181303) | about a year ago | (#44118395)

Two words you do not want to hear together when getting a referral from a retinal specialist.

I had a tumor inside my eye. Maybe this process could have saved the vision in my eye, as opposed to the invasive radiation treatment I had to deal with instead. The radiation has basically done a number on the vision in that eye, which has degraded quite a bit since my treatment almost 3 years ago.

Keep in mind, there are other issues... when they did the biopsy, it resulted in bleeding in my eye, a shocking discovery I made after the treatment (where a radioactive plaque was sewn to my eye, under the tumor, for a week) when I would put the drops prescribed in my eye. It was unexpected, basically a dark encroaching blob that floated into my vision when my head was tilted back. I suspect injecting these into an eye would result in a similar problem. IT took several weeks to clear up (blood absorption is slow in the eye). I'm also not sure if these are up to the task of killing a 6mm tumor.

I'm all for advancement of medcine.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44118463)

.. But I've been playing a lot of dead space lately and all I can think about is this scene:
(Warning: NSFW, NFSL - It's a horror video game folks)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9crCGMh4j9g

Sweet, one step closer towards magColonoscopy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44118603)

No doctor will be putting their fingers up my butt by the time I'm 40 after-all! Wait, they still need a stool sample. Drats :(

The rest of the lab aren't sure... (1)

froth-bite (2777385) | about a year ago | (#44118625)

especially the first 20 bunnies, whose eyes helplessly follow Ms. Shurke wherever she passes by.

I For One... (1)

Roachie (2180772) | about a year ago | (#44119291)

would like to welcome our ferrous overlords!

Re:I For One... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44120885)

Eye for one welcome our... (sorry, had to)

Is experimenting on Jewish priests legal? (1)

maroberts (15852) | about a year ago | (#44120735)

With this system, mobility experiments were conducted in which a micro-robot with a diameter of 285 um (about four times the width of a hair) was navigated reliably through the eye of a rabbi ...

Obscene animal cruelty! (1)

sabbede (2678435) | about a year ago | (#44121519)

While I normally support medical research even at the expense of lab animals, this goes too far! I have never seen such an obvious case of animal cruelty! How dare these monsters jam a device into this poor rabbit's eye when they so crassly admit that it is FOUR TIMES THE WIDTH OF A HARE!!! How did they even manage that? An elasticized skull?
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