202106 Dec

Remote robotics in COVID times


As mentioned, the use of telerobotics has proved paramount in COVID wards: the technology has allowed medical experts to both treat, and limit the spread of infection from, sufferers of coronavirus disease. In parallel to the benefits of telemedicine (wherein medical appointments are carried out over video calls), which has also been thoroughly utilised throughout the COVID lockdowns, telerobotics has allowed hospital staff to diagnose and treat patients while maintaining a safe distance. Telesurgery, also known as remote surgery, involves robotic surgical equipment that is controlled, partially or completely, by one or more surgeons through human-machine interfaces on a shared wireless network. It is phenomenal that, over 20 years ago, wireless communication and robotics were advanced to such a point that remote surgery was possible at a transatlantic level – decades before ‘physical distancing’ and ‘self-isolation’ became staple terms in medical care. Nevertheless, the problem of latency (albeit just a split second’s worth) was an inevitable concern in the operation: Dr Marescaux had to work with delayed communications when carrying out the surgical procedure, especially as it took place in the early noughties.

Source: Electronicspecifier