Feature

This microscopic robot is revolutionizing eye surgery

It's called R2D2

This can revolutionize surgery.

Tiny surgical robots "are revolutionizing eye surgery," said Simon Parkin at Technology Review. The Robotic Retinal Dissection Device, known as R2D2, allows surgeons to make miniscule incisions, shift membranes as small as a hundredth of a millimeter thick, and perform other incredibly precise maneuvers on patients' eyes using "a joystick and a camera feed."

Courtesy image

The device was designed in part to eliminate tremors in a surgeon's hand, and last September doctors at Oxford University used R2D2 to perform the first ever operation via robot inside a human eye. Since then, doctors have conducted five more surgeries, including one in which a virus used in gene therapy was planted on a patient's retina. Robots are already common in operating rooms, "but until now surgical robots have been too bulky to be used in certain procedures" on such a small scale.

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