Needles, eyes, robots – Sound’s like fun!

Would you allow a robot to stick a needle in your eye? Soon you may actually prefer this to having an eye surgeon do it, thanks to a new innovation supported by Robotdalen in Västerås, Sweden. Patients suffering from an eye disease called AMD (Age-Related Macular Degeneration) experience a disturbance in their vision similar to this:

A certain fixed area is blacked out, and the disease may ultimately lead to permanent blindness. With a growing population of elderly people in the developed world, it is projected that in a few years some 196 million people will suffer from AMD. Until now, the only treatment available has been surgery using a syringe to administer the treatment, occasionally requiring several injections for the drug to successfully reach the right spot.

Despite the importance and high prevalence of this disease, there is, as of now, no effective treatment for AMD. At Smart Cocktail, we believe this precision task is a job for a robot. Especially since we can’t even imagine sticking a needle into somebody’s eye!

Let us introduce the CRG robot.

-No, you can’t get one from Amazon!

As can be seen in the film, the treatment procedure goes something like this: The patient’s head and eye are fixated to avoid any movement during the procedure. Press Start on the workstation! The robot will swerve into the right position with a confident Hhhzzz sound and stop when the needle is right above the eye. Now comes the tricky part. The needle is gently pushed deep into the patient’s eyeball, injecting a sufficiently strong drug dose at exactly the right spot. This is way beyond what even the most steady-handed surgeon would ever dare undertake.

The CRG robot will then pull out the needle and return to an idle position. Well done! The accuracy of this equipment is equivalent to piercing this dot ∙ at an exact depth, over and over again without ever getting tired or out of focus. 

We wish Dr.-Ing. M. Ali Nasseri and his team at Technische Universität München (TUM) the best of luck with this fantastic and much needed innovation. Read more about this and other cool robot innovations at Robotdalen’s website. One of our new favorites is Poseidon, the world’s first automatic personal shower robot! An innovative, medical-technical aid that will help disabled people take better care of their personal hygiene themselves.

Other cool posts:

SmartCocktail is a monthly blog celebrating Swedish innovation
and engineering within the fields of industry and biotech.