Science and technology often take a page out of Mother Nature's book, using environmental adaptations to navigate the complex world of robotics. This month, we caught news of an original robot wiggling its way into future robotic surgeries: the SAW, or Single Actuator Wave-like Robot.
The SAW was developed by a team from Ben-Gurion University of Negev in Israel, and it's designed to be one of the most dynamic robots for medical purposes. Using a continuously advancing worm-like wave motion, the robot can move forward and backward, climb up narrow gaps and even swim. The motion allows the SAW to climb over obstacles and move through soft, rough, and grainy terrains. Made of 3D-printed plastic, it's durable and easy to manufacture as well.
For robotic surgery advancements, the unique mode of transportation this robot provides could offer major benefits for certain procedures. While most existing models are on the larger side, the team plans to create a smaller model that is less than 1 cm in diameter. With the smaller model surgeons will be able to film and take biopsies during minimally invasive surgery. Moving at speeds of 57 cm per second, the tiny bot can easily power through passageways without tearing tissue. This could mean exciting updates for endoscopic surgeries, where the SAW could easily make its way through intestines or other narrow, internal tunnels to diagnose and treat ailments, and possibly even assist in the removal of harmful materials.
What's next? The Nicholson Center is always on the lookout for the latest and greatest in robotic surgery and medical training techniques. To learn more about the types of robots we train with at our facility, contact us here.