Roberts performing operations, doing the housework or driving you around is the stuff sci-fi films from the 70s are made of, but now it seems this is becoming a reality - well in some parts anyway.
Dr Andre Ng, Senior Lecturer in Cardiovascular Sciences at the University of Leicester and Consultant Cardiologist and Electrophysiologist, Glenfield Hospital, University Hospitals of Leicester, has announced that he will perform heart surgery remotely using a robot arm, in a pioneering operation conducted at Glenfield Hospital Leicester.
He is the first person to use the Catheter Robotics Remote Catheter Manipulations System in a heart rhythm treatment procedure and will manipulate the robotic arm during the operation.
Dr Ng said: "The new Robotic procedure is an important step forward because, while some procedures are straightforward, others can take several hours.
The procedure involves inserting thin wires, called catheters, into blood vessels at the top of the groin and advanced into the heart chambers. Electrodes on the catheters record and stimulate different regions of the heart to help the doctor identify the cause of the heart rhythm problem which usually involves an abnormality in the electrical wiring system of the heart.
Once this area is identified, one of the catheters will be placed at the location to ablate or “burn” the tissue to cure the problem. Catheter ablation has been developed and used over the past 2 decades effectively in many patients suffering palpitations due to heart rhythm disturbances.
Dr Ng said: “Because X-rays are used to allow the doctor to monitor what is going on inside the patient, it means that doctors standing close to the patient wear radiation shields such as lead aprons which are burdensome. Protracted procedures can lead to clinician fatigue and high cumulative radiation exposure.
“The benefit of the Robotics system to the patient is that movement of the catheter could be done with great precision......On the other hand, benefits to the doctor are that heavy lead aprons would not be necessary as he / she will be controlling the movements of the catheter using the Remote Controller at a distance from the patient outside the radiation area and that he / she can be sitting closer to the monitors displaying electrical signals and x-ray images as opposed to standing at some distance across the room from them which is current practice.”
Now all we need is a robot house maid to be developed.