Robotic eye surgery controlled with magnets

If you’re in need of eye surgery you might just find yourself strapped into this contraption. It’s a magnetic field generator used to manipulate a tiny, untethered probe. It’s called OctoMag and the idea is that a robot less than half a millimeter in size is injected into your vascular system and, through the use of those coils, it busts up blood clots in the small passages inside of the eye.

Once you’ve seen the clip after the break we’re sure you’ll agree that this is amazing technology. Nonetheless it makes us cringe to think of the procedure done on a living organism but we’re sure that fear will subside given time. For now this seems more like a treatment from A Clockwork Orange.

Comments

  1. hmm says:

    Damn that’s scary.

  2. transistor says:

    That looks amazing, i like the ‘copper tube as heavy duty coil’ aspect of it. It must have some intense controls hardware to maintain stability like that.

  3. dan says:

    This thing is seriously cool. I’m excited about what they could do with it in the future – you could potentially do all sorts of internal surgery without even making a hole.

    And for some reason it immediately came to mind that if you hooked the floating needle up to an ink supply, you could make a pretty badass computer-controlled tattoo gun.

  4. Philip says:

    Wow, it was running on ubuntu. I’m always shocked to see who much medical imaging software suites are written in proprietary platforms using closed images formats. This thing looks amazing!

  5. Grazz256 says:

    Just think how that is going to feel moving around in your eye… wait can you feel things inside your eye?

  6. netanel says:

    wow,just amazed…

  7. Peter says:

    like a miniture flight of the navigator ship. thats pretty impressive. perhaps neurosurgery as well?

  8. Tachikoma says:

    This thing rocks me sox off. The precision is awesome.

  9. Winston says:

    That’s awesome and all… but I’m glad its not lunchtime. Ick!

  10. Hirudinea says:

    That is both amazing and creepy, but mostly amazing.

  11. Mike says:

    Grazz: No. There are no pain receptors inside your eyeball.

  12. Ho0d0o/Heatgap says:

    This is great! It was only a matter of time before we saw something like this. In the distant future we will all have elected micro robots inside of our bodies performing all sorts of life saving tasks when the need arises. People with high cholesterol will have robots mining cholesterol out of there arteries and vessels…etc. etc.

  13. Squirrel says:

    @dan
    The surgery would still require a hole, just a much, much smaller one. This one’ll be interesting to hear about again when it actually goes mainstream

  14. jeditalian says:

    would be good for getting metal shavings out of your eye, in case you’re grinding iron/steel without eyegear

  15. Taylor Alexander says:

    thats awesome. I’ve always wanted to build something like this for controlling a free floating… uh… marital aide… It would be a pretty awesome system, though obviously very expensive!

  16. zool says:

    fucking magnetic field generators, how do they work?

    and i don’t want to talk to a scientist..

  17. Bob says:

    What they don’t show well is the volume that fits inside of the magnets is very small. They can do eye surgery on you, but they first have to remove your eye and place it inside of the machine. And notice that once viscous fluid was introduced, it became a requirement to have closed loop feedback. If the device were inside tissue, you would need two tissue piercing imaging devices to know where the probe was and what it was doing. You would also not have any feed back as to how hard it was cutting. I think this system needs some work, but it is promising. I think the idea of doing eye surgery with it is still decades away.

  18. monkeyslayer56 says:

    i know someone who this would probably not work very well on considering the magnetic fields… he has metal embeded in his eye..

  19. Awe Lucid says:

    very cool. But oscilating high powered electromagnets around the head produces unintended electrical current in the brain, and sounds like something that could potentially cause unintended side effects. The God Helmet uses this technique to induce halucinations and spiritual experiences, while other therapies of TMS “Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation” have been shown to have other psychoactive effects, including seizures. to ignore that factor as we steer around a mettle probe sounds potentially risky, and it should undergo some more study.

    Link to info on God helmet: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transcranial_magnetic_stimulation
    Link to TMS info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/God_helmet

  20. Yann Vernier says:
  21. Valen says:

    They would be using the copper pipe because they can flow coolant through it meaning they can run lots of amps to get their magnetic field without lots of inductance which would slow things down

    I too was concerned about the brain but they would be using relativley slow changing magnetic fields though rather strong. It shouldn’t cause issues for anybody with metal in them provided its non-ferrous/magnetic. Might not even need the bot to remove iron filings from an eye ;->

    As for feedback if they are planning on using it on the eye, it does come with a window yaknow.

    I do wonder if it would also be possible to track its position with a high frequency (but very small) modulation of the magnetic fields, something akin to a MRI coupled with some suitable receivers.

  22. Valen says:

    actually after reading the paper, the coolant pipes are just that, under them they have ~700 turns of copper over a soft magnetic core.

  23. pRoFlT says:

    After i saw the levitating design a couple weeks back i thought about doing something like this. I was only going to have 3 for a x,y,z. But this one is way better then what i was thinking about.

    What happens if the person moves during the procedure? Does the metal slice through there head as they pull away!

    It may move freely, but when they showed the metal pricking the chicken eye, or whatever, it looked like they really had to push hard. once the cut is made boom the metal is going to shoot through, maybe…Not like a doctor that pulls back after the cut. a computer is fast though. so….

    I wont be sitting at the doctors office with this machine on my head anytime soon!

  24. HeBD says:

    Fred Hollows eat your heart eyes out!!

    those electro magnets look like the ones used in particle accelerators and Scanning Electron Microscopes… now to hack a SEM to make it double as a magnetically controlled Atomic Force Microscopy!!! cant wait to see that.

  25. Jim says:

    This is brilliant…one of the most amazing accomplishments I’ve seen! A prior post about strong oscillating magnetic fields being a problem probably doesn’t apply here. Not sure but these coils are probably linearly current controlled, as opposed to pulsed.
    This beast must use some serious amperage, who’s paying the electric bill here? Ha!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s