bots IN BRIEF
22 SERVO 11.2013
A robotic device that crawls into lungs could help deliver
vital air to patients, researchers say.
To help anesthetized or critically ill patients breathe, flexible
plastic tubes are placed into the lungs to maintain an open airway
— a procedure known as intubation. Currently, intubation
requires physicians to look down the throat and choose between
two very similar openings: one leading to the lungs; the other to
Picking the wrong opening to intubate can lead to death.
Moreover, intubation sometimes has to be performed in
challenging situations that can make the procedure even more
difficult, such as the battlefield or with fluids like blood
obstructing the way.
Now, scientists have revealed a robotic intubation device that
can automatically identify the lungs.
A prototype of the device — called the GuideIN Tube — was successfully tested on
cadavers at the Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem.
INVASION OF THE JELLYFISH
In South Korea, jellyfish are threatening marine ecosystems and are responsible for about
US$300 million in damage and losses to fisheries, seaside power plants, and other ocean
infrastructure. Large jellyfish swarms have been drastically increasing over the past decades
and have become a problem in many parts of the world. Hyun Myung, a robotics professor
at the Korean Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), said in a recent
interview they aren't just affecting marine life and infrastructure any more."The number of
beachgoers who have been stung by poisonous jellyfish — which can lead to death in
extreme cases — has risen," he says."One child died due to this last year in Korea."
So, Professor Myung and his group at KAIST set out to develop a robot to deal with
this issue, and have tested out their solution: the Jellyfish Elimination Robotic Swarm
The JEROS robots are autonomous and are able to use cameras to locate jellyfish
near the surface, Professor Myung explained.
Due to the large number of jellyfish, developing some sort of catch-and-release
mechanism is just not feasible, so the robots are equipped with hardware that would
probably be considered inhumane to use on anything with a backbone.
Together, the JEROS robots can mulch approximately 900 kilograms of jellyfish per
hour. Your typical moon jelly might weigh about 150 grams. So, that's about 6,000 ex-jellyfish per hour.
Professor Myung says that because the robots are designed to work cooperatively,
adding more units to deal with the large quantities of jellyfish shouldn't be a problem. His
team is already planning more tests in their efforts to deter the gelatinous invaders.
A new robotic device aims to improve intubation procedures,
especially those done in challenging situations.
(Photo courtesy of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.)