The Royal College of Surgeons of England has partnered with the Qvist Gallery at the Hunterian Museum to profile the history of the development of robotic tools for medical applications. The showing also includes some sci-fi work of Osamu Tezuka, an artist whose work many believe to be the inspiration for the Fantastic Voyage film.
Sci-Fi Surgery: Medical Robots is the theme for the latest exhibition in the Qvist Gallery at the Hunterian Museum. The exhibition runs from 8 September to 23 December 2009 and explores the fascinating world of medical robotics including the pioneering Probot (1991), a robot designed to aid prostate gland surgery, Freehand, a robotic camera holder for keyhole surgery as well as mini-robots designed to make their own way around the inside of the human body.
Many of these robots are still at the prototype stage. Exhibits include the prototype Robotic Camera Pill (2005). Swallowed by patients in pill form, doctors will guide the robot by remote-control, using images beamed back to a screen. Also included is the ARES Robot prototype (2009) which will require patients to swallow up to 15 different modules. Once inside the body the modules will assemble themselves into a larger device capable of carrying out surgical procedures.
Robots and related technologies are being designed to support every area of patient care. Toumaz Technology’s ‘Digital Plaster’ 2009 monitors a patient’s vital signs and alerts doctors if results fall outside predicted ranges. Sophisticated nursebots like ‘Pearl’ and Japan’s ‘RI-MAN’ are a futuristic solution to the care needs of an increasing elderly population.
The exhibition will also feature some famous medical robots from the world of science fiction, from the 1920s ‘Pyschophonic Nurse’, to Japanese Manga (printed cartoons) and Anime (animated films), and Britain’s own 2000AD, and ask whether science fiction reflects fact, or if scientists are inspired by the representation of medical robots in films, books and comics.
Sci-Fi Surgery: Medical Robots also marks the 20th anniversary of the death of Manga artist and animator Osamu Tezuka whose creations include ‘Astroboy’ and the maverick surgeon ‘Black Jack’. Tezuka trained as a doctor but never practiced, choosing to follow his dream of becoming a manga artist. Many of his stories feature medical themes and one of his earliest works, ‘The Monster on the 38th Parallel’, has miniaturised humans entering a body to fight disease and is thought to have been the inspiration for the 1966 Sci-Fi classic ‘Fantastic Voyage’.
Link @ Royal College of Surgeons of England: Sci-Fi Surgery: Medical Robots…