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Home Industry News Worm-like robot ‘can aid treatment of inner ear tumours’

Worm-like robot ‘can aid treatment of inner ear tumours’

9th November 2015

Researchers in Germany have developed a worm-like surgical robot that could be used to improve treatment of tumours within the inner ear.

Led by the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation IPA, the study involved the creation of the NiLiBoRo (Nonlinear Drilling Robot) device, which is able to access the inner ear with greater ease than ever before.

Presently, treating this type of tumour typically requires surgeons to remove the entire mastoid bone, this new device allows doctors to cut a tunnel of five mm in diameter through the bone before inserting the robot.

The system is capable of adjusting its path while drilling through bone to steer around sensitive tissue such as blood vessels and nerves, ensuring the process is much less invasive.

Project group scientist Lennart Karstensen said: "We can alter the robot's direction of travel by adjusting the bladders in the front section. For instance, if we wanted to move left then we fill the left bladder with less fluid than the right, which will cause the robot to veer to the left."

An initial prototype that is five times larger than the planned final version has already been developed, with a miniature robot intended to be ready for testing by physicians within two years.ADNFCR-8000103-ID-801805243-ADNFCR

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