Canadian researchers at the University of Calgary have developed the first MRI compatible robot, the neuroArm.
The neuroArm has been on the development table for the past six years. Neurosurgeon Dr. Garnette Sutherland and a team of researchers started the project in 2002 with the help of the Seaman brothers providing $2 million in funding.
"Many of our microsurgical techniques evolved in the 1960s, and have pushed surgeons to the limits of their precision, accuracy, dexterity and stamina," says Dr. Sutherland, professor of neurosurgery at the University of Calgary and the Calgary Health Region.
The team used the same company that has worked with NASA for the robotics. Use of the robotic arm will shift brain surgery to a cellular level that the human hand simply is unable to do. The best surgeon in the world can work within an eighth of an inch while the neuroArm can work within a hair.
Surgeons are currently using the device on a simulator with hopes that by this summer they will operate on their first patient.