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Researchers craft microscale robotic hand for surgeries

Darren Murph

It's no surprise that humans are doing less and less of the dirty work while they simply control robotic creatures that are actually doing the internal repairs, but a UCLA researcher has devised a ridiculously tiny "microhand" to handle even the smallest surgery-related tasks. The hand, which is said to be a "feat of microscale mechanical systems (MEMS)," measures just one millimeter across when closed into a fist, features four "fingers" made of six silicon wafers each, and touts four gas-powered balloons acting as the muscles at the wafers' joints. As you may expect, the gas lines that run to the balloons inflate and deflate the joints, causing the fingers to grasp and release as needed. The primary purpose is to eventually use the technology in new forms of "minimally invasive surgery," and although the microhand is likely years away from practical use, they're already in cahoots with robotic firm to develop a "slightly larger" rendition with an onboard camera for live action video feeds.

[Via MedGadget]

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