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Is Your Surgeon Real?

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posted on Dec, 5 2006 @ 04:10 PM

Dynamic Physical Rendering Research at Intel

In a hospital in Houston, two surgeons appear to be performing a difficult procedure on a cardiac patient. In fact, only one of the doctors in the room is real. The other is a replica-a lifelike physical model whose shape, appearance and movements precisely mimic those of a specialist in Tokyo who is performing the actual work.
This scenario may seem like science fiction, but research required to realize it has already begun, in a collaborative research project between Carnegie Mellon University and Intel. The goal of the project, which Intel has labeled Dynamic Physical Rendering (DPR), is to create a new form of media the researchers call pario-Greek for "to bring forth" or "to make."

What the researchers propose to make are moving, physical, three-dimensional replicas of people or objects, so lifelike that human senses would accept them as real. This would eliminate the need for cumbersome virtual reality gear and overcome the viewing angle limitations of modern 3D approaches. The replicas would mimic the shape and appearance of a person or object being imaged in real time, and as the originals moved, so would their replicas. These 3D models would be physical entities, not holograms. You could touch them and interact with them, just as if the originals were in the room with you.

I don't know if someone has already presented this,but I found it and thought some would be interested. It's amazing to me how all this stuff works. However, a major concern that I have is the already "anti social" society becoming even more so.

Here is what I mean

(1) You call a big corporation of a government agency,you don't talk to a real life,breathing human being anymore,uh-uh;you get to play press the numbers to an automated voice on the other end

(2) People would rather communicate via e-mail than to go to a social function. Hell,half of the people you meet in person can't even talk correctly anymore because of lack of use of the vocal cord. We have a president that is a shining example of what I am talking about.

(3) You wal into Lowe's Wal-Mart or any other big supermarkets, when you go to check out,there's no longer a person there but a register and to do a "self-checkout."

I view this whole 3-D surgeon stuff in about the same light as I do all of the stuff already mentioned. It is just another sign that our society is becoming isolated. It's rather ironic really. We have all of these technological communication devices to connect us to the world around us,yet,it appears that it's actually causing most to become disconnected to real life individuals.

posted on Dec, 6 2006 @ 06:36 AM
Hello again, SpeakerofTruth. We seem to be following one another around these days.

I'm with you about halfway on this dehumanization business. On the one hand, I resent having to wait around while an automated talking switchboard does its mechanical-moron thing, or finding myself with no-one to complain to when the ATM eats my card and won't give me my money. On the other, all it takes is one encounter with a real-life, flesh-and-blood moron behind a counter (or worse still, behind a desk at a government office somewhere) to make me wish that all such transactions could be automated.

The article you've quoted, however, just doesn't make sense. I think the person who wrote it had to make up a scenario to illustrate how this new technology might be used, but didn't think hard enough and ended up with a nonsensical one that would never occur in the real world.

The future of surgery won't be in the hands, so to speak, of animated mannequins operated by remote control from Tokyo. The future of surgery lies with robots, real robots, who don't look anything like human beings.

Here's a postion paper by Kenneth C. Curley, MD, Chief Scientist at the U.S. Army Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Centre, which you may find interesting. You'll notice, reading the paper (which was written in 2004) that surgical robotics is already very much with us.

Robotic surgery has different meanings to different people. In its truest definition... it refers to machines autonomously performing surgical procedures. In its current use, it refers to robot-assisted surgery where surgeons operate either directly or over a distance (telesurgery) through robotic end effectors...

The latter systems have found increasing popularity within the subspecialty niches for which they were developed, while the former, the robotic surgical assistants, are still widely viewed as extravagances found at large academic medical centers. As one leading PROPONENT of these systems noted, “as long as I can out-operate a robot I can’t see the use for one”.

Surgery by remote control, as described in this paper is already fairly common. There are also a number of operating-room robots like Penelope, which doesn't require any human input to perform, already in use. These gadgets don't look like human beings, though. They look like the specialized mechanical devices that they are.

Moreover, and despite a certain amount of expected resistance from surgeons like the one quoted in the extract above, both remote-controlled surgical assistants and true robot surgeons are definitely going to become operating-theatre fixtures in the near future. They won't, however, look anything like human beings, because that would deprive them of their key advantage.

That advantage is minimal invasiveness: smaller, neater incisions that reduce operating-theatre butchery and heal a lot faster than the ones human surgeons have to make. Think about it: human surgeons have to hack great gaping gashes in their patients to make room for their own big, clumsy hands and the similarly proportioned instruments they use. By comparison, the skinny probes and manipulators of surgical robots and the miniaturized devices they carry on them require far smaller incisions. Robotic precision means that incisions can be made and instruments positioned with pinpoint accuracy.

Stuff like this is already in actual operation. Here's a page I found that describes a specialized, autonomous robot prototype developed at Johns Hopkins in 1996 -- all of ten years ago! Things have come a long way since then.

PAKY mimics the urologist's manual procedure yet increases its safety, speed, and accuracy. The key advantages of this approach are that it employs a proven radiological needle alignment procedure, improves accuracy in comparison to purely manual placement, and enables lateral fluoroscopic monitoring of the needle.

So you see, the robot surgeons of the future won't look anything like Doctor Fukuda from Narita General. Not a bit of it. They'll be gleaming metallic spiders bristling with razor-sharp probes, cutters, dilators and manipulators. Just imagine all that stuff poking around inside you...

And just imagine the consequences of a programming error. A mist of blood in the air, chips of bone and gristle flying all over the place, and not a human being in the building to see what's happening and pull the plug.

Don't worry. Won't happen.

See you in the operating theatre.

[edit on 6-12-2006 by Astyanax]

posted on Dec, 6 2006 @ 09:14 AM
I actually found a pretty neat site concerning robotics. For those who are interested,here is a link:

21st Century Robotics

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