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.


25 thoughts on “Robotic Eye Surgery Controlled With Magnets

  1. 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.

  2. 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!

  3. 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.

  4. 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!

  5. 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.

  6. 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:
    Link to TMS info:

  7. 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.

  8. 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!

  9. 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.

  10. 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!

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