Doctor, I shrunk the robot. Or… Out of their tiny little robotic minds

Chris Wagner, head of advanced surgical systems at Cambridge Consultants, with the Axsis robotic surgery technology
Chris Wagner, head of advanced surgical systems at Cambridge Consultants, with the Axsis robotic surgery technology

By Chris Wagner, head of advanced surgical systems at Cambridge Consultants

Surgical robots today are large and unwieldy. This causes a number of challenges in the operating theatre. 

Setting up and managing the robots, for example, takes up valuable operating time. It’s also difficult to swap a robot in and out of a surgical procedure if traditional tools are more appropriate for some elements of an operation. And there are safety issues when clinical staff work in close proximity to a large piece of moving equipment.

So a surgeon has to weigh the benefits of surgical robotics against these limitations for each procedure where a robot is used.

There is an opportunity here – if we can simply make the robot smaller, many of these limitations disappear. It is much easier to move a small robot into an operating theatre, put it into position for an operation and move it out again afterwards. The safety concerns are also much reduced.  Continue reading Doctor, I shrunk the robot. Or… Out of their tiny little robotic minds

Robots from Mars to help reduce the environmental impact of farming

stfc ral space AgriRovers
The AgriRovers developed by STFC RAL Space, designed for Mars, could be used as farm robots on Earth

Martian robots – or more accurately, robot technology designed for use on Mars – could help improve crop yields on Earth, according to researchers. 

A system developed originally to explore Mars has been transformed into an agricultural monitoring device for testing the quality of soil. It has the potential to reduce the environmental impact of farming.

The device consists of a mobile rover platform with a robotic arm which carries a soil sensing instrument. It is based on technology developed by the UK-based Science and Technology Facilities Council’s Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (STFC RAL) Space, and will be used in a new project being run by a team at the University of Strathclyde.  Continue reading Robots from Mars to help reduce the environmental impact of farming