We used to see films about alien space ships abducting humans to experiment on them using robotic arms and now it's a reality being used each and every day in hospitals around the world. Last week the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Samsung for a surgical robotic system. It's designed to be less invasive. Instead of making large incisions across the body, the surgical arms can enter very small incisions with cameras and cutting tools and perform the surgery under the skin. I had such surgery last year and was amazed at how little scarring it produced.
Samsung's Patent Background
Minimally invasive surgery refers to surgical methods to minimize the size of an incision. Laparotomy uses a relatively large surgical incision through a part of a human body (e.g., the abdomen). However, in minimally invasive surgery, after forming at least one small port (or incision) of 0.5 cm-1.5 cm through the abdominal wall, an operator inserts an endoscope and a variety of surgical instruments through the port, to perform surgery while viewing an image.
Compared to laparotomy, minimally invasive surgery has several advantages, such as low pain after surgery, early recovery, early restoration of ability to eat, short hospitalization, rapid return to daily life, and superior cosmetic effects due to a small incision. Accordingly, minimally invasive surgery has been used in gall resection, prostate cancer, and herniotomy operations, etc, and the use range thereof continues to expand.
In general, a surgical robot used in minimally invasive surgery includes a master device and a slave device. The master device generates a control signal corresponding to doctor manipulation to transmit the control signal to the slave device. The slave device receives the control signal from the master device to perform manipulation required for surgery of a patient. The master device and the slave device may be integrated with each other, or may be separately arranged in an operating room.
Examples of surgical robots include a multi-port surgical robot that forms a plurality of incisions in the body of a patient to insert a plurality of surgical instruments through the respective incisions in a one-to-one ratio, and a single-port surgical robot that forms a single incision in the body of the patient to insert a plurality of surgical instruments through the single incision at once. Here, the single-port surgical robot forms a single incision differently from the multi-port surgical robot and has been given more attention due to advantages of the narrow incision and early recovery. However, single-port surgery is not easy.
Samsung Invents a Surgical Robot System
Samsung's invention relates to providing a surgical robot including a surgical instrument configured to easily pass through a bent guide tube.
In accordance with an aspect of the disclosure, in a surgical robot including a slave device provided with a surgical instrument, the surgical instrument includes a body having at least one link that includes a plurality of solenoid segments, and an end effector mounted to one end of the body.
In accordance with an aspect of the disclosure, a surgical robot includes a body including a plurality of electromagnetic solenoid segments, where at least a portion of the body becomes rigid or flexible depending on a generated polarity of an energized state of each of the plurality of electromagnetic solenoid segments.
In accordance with an aspect of the disclosure, a method of controlling a surgical robot including a body including a plurality of electromagnetic solenoid segments includes energizing a first portion of the electromagnetic solenoid segments with a first voltage, and energizing a second portion of the electromagnetic solenoid segments with a second voltage, where the plurality of electromagnetic solenoid segments are selectively rigid or flexible depending on the first voltage and the second voltage.
Samsung's FIG. 1 is a view showing an outer appearance of a surgical robot. Samsung notes that the display unit #120 of the master device #100 may display, e.g., an image of the interior of the patient's body collected via the camera #230 and a 3D virtual image generated using medical images of the patient before surgery. To this end, the master device may include an image processor (not shown) that receives and processes image data transmitted from the slave device #200 to output the processed data to the display unit. Here, the image data may include a 3D virtual image generated using medical images of the patient before surgery as well as an image collected via the camera without being in any way limited.
Samsung's patent FIG. 2 noted below is a view showing a state in which a guide tube for insertion of a surgical instrument is inserted into the abdominal cavity and moved to a surgical region.
Samsung filed their US patent application back in Q3 2013. Considering that this is a patent application, the timing of such a product to market is unknown at this time.
Below is a Samsung patent figure from a second patent application by the same name giving us a different perspective of a similar system.
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