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EU-funded researchers make breakthrough on robotic brain surgery

The keyhole surgery robot has 13 degrees of movement and the ability to assess the level of force applied during surgery.

The RoboCast team demonstrate the robot's abilities earlier in the year.
The RoboCast team demonstrate the robot's abilities earlier in the year.
Image: YouTube

A GROUP OF European and Israeli scientists say they have made a major breakthrough in robotic neurosurgery with the development of a new robot which can assist in keyhole brain surgery.

The RoboCast project involves researchers from the UK, Germany, Israel and Italy who say the robot they have developed offers 13 types of movement during minimally invasive surgery – compared with the four possible with a human surgeon’s hands.

The robot can also reduce the tremor of a surgeon’s hands by up to ten times. The robot can also assess haptic, or tactile, feedback to gauge the level of force being applied during surgery.

The research team says their robot performed accurately during keyhole surgery tests on dummies and has the potential to treat patients suffering from tumours, epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease and Tourette syndrome.

The EU-funded project began in January 2008 and is being followed by research into robotic neurosurgery for patients who would remain conscious during their surgery. Two robots could assist the surgeon in performing the operation, according to the Active project.

Watch: The RoboCast project team demonstrates their robot neurosurgery:

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