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Crab-inspired Robot Treats Gastrointestinal Cancer

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Crab-inspired Robot Treats Gastrointestinal Cancer

A crab-like robot, inspired by Singapore’s national Chili Crab dish, combats gastrointestinal cancer with two precision pincers…

Singaporean researchers have invented a robot designed to combat early-stage gastrointestinal cancer thanks to inspiration from Singapore’s famous national dish, Chili Crab.

The mini bot, designed and developed by Lawrence Ho, an enterologist at Singapores National University Hospital, and Louis Phee, associate professor at Singapores Nanyang Technological Institute, was first suggested by the well known Hong Kong surgeon, Sydney Chung, during a dinner meeting in 2004.

Instead of taking the suggestion light-hardheartedly, the pair began working on a prototype, which has now been used in 5 successful operations on patients in Hong Kong and India.

singapore chili crab inspires medical robot 550x412 Crab inspired Robot Treats Gastrointestinal Cancer

Singaporean Chili Crab Inspires Medical Robot

Image Credit: Jonas Lamis, 2006.

The crab-bot has two tiny pincers one to hold the tumor and the other to slice the flesh and coagulate bleeding – and is mounted on an endoscope alongside a small camera.

To perform the procedure the surgeon places the bot in the mouth and down the esophagus into the stomach. Using the live feed from the on-board camera, the surgeon carefully controls the bot to excise the tumor from the stomach wall.

Since the bot enters the mouth, the procedure is far less invasive then other surgical techniques, which reduces the chances of infections and eliminates scarring completely.

Ho and Phee have started a company in hope to have a full-fledged product to market within three years.


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