MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates (MDA) manufactures the Canadarm and Canadarm2 robotic arms for space research, but has joined the KidsArm project to help bring a mini-arm to pediatric surgery. Testing indicates the technology could be used to operate on blood vessels without actually damaging them, along with connecting vessels to other parts of the body.
The KidsArm system utilizes vision-based technology that helps direct a surgical arm to precise locations to carry out medical procedures. The tool tip is guided to a specific location using a "3D point cloud" to help determine where to suture.
"The goal of the robotic arm is to help doctors perform certain procedures many times faster than if they were only using their hands, and with increased accuracy," said Thomas Looi, director of the Center for Image-Guided Innovation and Therapeutic Intervention at the Hospital for Sick Kids (SickKids), noted in a statement. "Some of this would be done autonomously. While we are not quite there yet, KidsArm is able to perform three to five suture points autonomously."