Future Robotic Surgery Systems

As previously mentioned, one of the major points of criticism of robotic telemanipula-tors is the lack of haptic feedback from the operating instruments. While some surgeons using the current systems on a regular basis feel that this is partly compensated for by the superior three-dimensional visual feedback, others differ. Future robotic systems are likely to include improved haptic feedback data.

The enormous size of the systems compromises their proper positioning, thus either miniaturization or integration of the system into the design of the operating room by attachment to the ceiling may help in the future. The key to the future success of these systems lies in producing highly trained surgeons well versed with the robotic system. Because certain procedures are rarely performed, virtual reality training programs can be integrated into robotic systems for the purpose of "surgical-skills" training. The development of a telestrator may further help the experienced surgeon to instruct the trainee. The telestrator is a regular part of sports broadcasts and allows the announcer to draw lines and circles on screen showing how a play works and develops. Alternatively, a double-console concept would also serve the same purpose and would allow the experienced surgeon to adjust and correct the movements of the trainee. Similar to the concept of driving instructors, the second console would allow the tutor

As technology becomes more sophisticated, the concept of remote surgery will become more prevalent, extending the benefits of robotics to areas that lack similar services. This will allow the world's best surgeons to perform specialist procedures remotely using robotic control in any part of the world.

to take over the instruments when needed and demonstrate the correct maneuver, helping in the safe transfer of skills. This will also help in diminishing the learning curve in using the system.

As technology becomes more sophisticated, the concept of remote surgery will become more prevalent, extending the benefits of robotics to areas that lack similar services. This will allow the world's best surgeons to perform specialist procedures remotely using robotic control in any part of the world.

Moreover, the robotic systems of the future will be more cost effective and affordable, aiding in the dissemination of the technology.

Although the use of robotics in medicine and surgery is growing rapidly, the field is in its infancy. Just as laparoscopy represents a "revolution" in the art of surgery, the potential for robotics to transform surgical practice is enormous. Through continued technological innovation and human imagination, the robots of the future will help to improve the surgeon's precision and efficacy in and beyond the 21st century.

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