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Scientists create small surgery robot

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
UK researchers revolutionize robotic surgery by using mobile technology to create “smart robotic surgeons.” (File photo)

Scientists have developed the world’s smallest surgical robot, an achievement that could bring about a major transformation in medical operations.

The robot, called Versius, was built by a team consisting of 100 UK scientists and engineers gathered in Cambridgeshire, The Guardian reported on Sunday.

They applied low-cost technology originally used in smart mobile phones and space industries to create the first robotic arm specifically designed to carry out keyhole surgery.

Versius mimics the human arm and can be used to carry out a wide range of keyhole or laparoscopic procedures like ear, nose, and throat surgeries, in which a series of small incisions are made to circumvent the need for the traditional open surgery.

This reduces surgery complications and pain while speeding up the recovery of the patients.

Versius, which is controlled by a surgeon at a console guided by a 3D screen in the operating theater, is much cheaper and way smaller than the current machines.

Its maker, the Cambridge Medical Robotics (CMR) company, says that in order for robots to create a major transformation in surgery, they need to be versatile, easy to use, and small.

“The problem at the moment is that they are phenomenally expensive … [and] very large,” said the company’s chief executive, Martin Frost.

Versius can “think” and also “doesn’t tire like a surgeon can,” said Luke Hares, the chief technology officer at CMR.

The robot will be available for procedures on patients by next year.

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