Accident victims and injured soldiers could be saved at the scene by tiny wheeled robots slipped into their abdomens and controlled by surgeons hundreds of kilometers away. In experiments conducted at the University of Nebraska, the robots carried cameras fitted with light-emitting diodes to illuminate the abdomens of pigs and used radio transceivers to beam back video images. In the field, robots would carry different tools so that surgeons could stop internal bleeding – the main cause of traumatic death – by either clamping, clotting, or cauterizing wounds. “We want to perfect a family of little robots that paramedics can insert into a patient through a small incision,” says University of Nebraska-Lincoln mechanical engineer Shane Farritor, who is working with Dmitry Oleynikov of the University of Nebraska Medical Center. Farritor expects finished prototypes within two years.
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