TechImpact Robot




Technology is in the process of completely transforming all aspects of 6 industries – retail, transport, manufacturing, finance, construction, and health – with a significant reduction in the need for human labor. Here is the impact on Medicine, where, within 10-20 years (or less), it is reasonable to expect that:

  • Most diseases will be eradicated (although some new ones may develop).
  • We will be wearing sensors that constantly monitor our health, and immediately start a remedial process when something is wrong (from ordering medications, to booking an appointment with a medical specialist, or dispatching an ambulance).
  • Medication dosage and anesthetics will be customized for our personal situation (weight, age, medical history, genetic makeup, etc.)
  • Medication will be delivered to the most effective part of our bodies at the required frequency and dosage, using automatic dispensers, attached externally, or internally using nanobots.
  • All medical testing (bloodwork, imaging, etc.) will be automated, with analyses confirmed (at least for a while) by specialists who may reside remotely.
  • All surgery will be minimally invasive or replaced by the use of nanobots. Some surgery will be performed remotely (as the Da Vinci Surgical System has been doing since 2000).
  • Defective organs will be replaced by transplants built from our own stem cells.
  • Limbs and eyes will be replaced by brain-controlled prosthetics that operate more effectively than human versions. (The $6 Million Dollar Man and the Bionic Woman may no longer be fiction!)
  • Living to an age of 130-150 years will be normal with a good quality of life.

The technologies, which will make this vision a reality, include AI, Robotics, Nanotechnology, and Biotechnology (gene editing via CRISPR-Cas9 with its enormous potential and considerable dangers).

The impact of these technologies on the medical profession is considerable. As with all professions, lower-level functions will be replaced by automation, but so will many specialists. There is already a suggestion that medical schools stop training radiologists (see below) as the ability of AI routines to analyze medical images is starting to match that of specialists, and will soon exceed it. As the above vision starts to be implemented, the need for general practitioners will reduce. (From as far back as 1979, studies have shown that people are more honest in responding to computer terminals – or robots – than to nurses or GPs.)

The jobs in the medical profession that will likely last longer are those requiring direct (or virtual) patient contact. So psychiatrists and psychologists will be around for the foreseeable future, and may be more in demand as society learns to cope with a world without paid work. (On the other hand, a client of Nick’s was developing a computer-based program to provide cognitive behavioral therapy about 15 years ago.). While the need for nurses and administrators in doctors’ offices will disappear, nurses will still be needed to provide hospital and community patient care.






The artificial heart, made of synthetic and biological materials, was created by French medical technology company, Carmat. It has a chamber for hydraulic fluid and one for blood, separated by a membrane. The blood-facing side of the membrane is made of tissue from a cow’s heart, as are the heart’s four valves. A motorized pump moves hydraulic fluid in and out of the chambers, and that fluid moves the membrane to let blood flow through.

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Robots, drones and surveillance apps: The unexpected future of medicine (Medicine - 2020-07 - ZDNet)

Robots are taking up new roles in hospitals, replacing clinical and other hospital workers to help with medical care and the logistics of running hospitals. Drones are delivering medical supplies, collecting patient samples for testing, and dropping off medicine to people in remote communities. Drones have also been used to disinfect outdoor markets and other areas to slow the spread of disease.

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AI team trains robot to do sutures (Medicine/Surgery - 2020-06 - Techxplore)

Google Brain, Intel Corporation and the University of California, Berkeley, researchers have ‘trained’ robots to mimic surgical procedures through the use of instructional videos.

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A new bionic eye could give robots and the blind 20/20 vision (Medicine/Eyesight - 2020-05 - Singularity Hub)

Researchers from Hong Kong University of Science and Technology have devised a way to build photosensors directly into a hemispherical artificial retina. This enabled them to create a device that can almost mimic the wide field of view, while improving the responsiveness and resolution of the human eye.

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Autonomous robots will transport medicine in Texas (Medicine/Prescriptions - 2020-05 - The Verge)

Nuro will use its small fleet of road-legal delivery robots to transport pharmaceuticals to CVS customers in Houston, starting in June.

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Robot that can perform 'Supermicrosurgery' passes first test in humans (Medicine/Microsurgery - 2020-02 - Gizmodo)

New research published in Nature Communications describes MUSA—the first robotic system designed exclusively for performing reconstructive supermicrosurgery. Using the system, surgeons were able to reconnect vessels with diameters between 0.3 and 0.8 millimeters.

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LG is testing robots at a children's hospital to improve medical care (Medicine/Hospitals - 2019-11 - ZDNet)

LG has deployed 25 Cloi robots to Seoul National University Hospital’s children’s hospital to improve medical care. The goal is to provide emotional support for children that may fear the different environment and lack of freedom to move around. The hope is that the robots will be seen as caregivers and friends for the children.

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Exoskeleton controlled by a brain-machine interface (Medicine - 2019-10 - BBC)

Researchers from Clinatec and the University of Grenoble report that a man has been able to move all four of his paralysed limbs with a mind-controlled exoskeleton suit. Surgery places two implants on the surface of the brain, covering the parts of the brain that control movement. 64 electrodes on each implant read brain activity and beam the instructions to a nearby computer which controls the suit.

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Socially intelligent mobile nurse's aide robot successfully integrated in a working medical facility (Medicine/Nursing - 2019-10 - ZDNet)

Moxi, a socially intelligent mobile nurse’s aide robot designed by Austin-based Diligent Robotics, has been successfully integrated in a Texas hospital. Moxi retrieves and transports items and delivers supplies, but has no direct patient interaction.

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First long-distance heart surgery performed via robot in India (Medicine/Telemedicine Surgery - 2019-09 - ZDNet)

A doctor in India has performed a series of 5 successful percutaneous coronary intervention procedures on patients who were 20 miles away, using a precision vascular robot developed by Corindus. Telemedicine is an emerging field, leveraging advances in networking, robotics, mixed reality, and communications technologies to beam in medical experts to remote locations for everything from consultations to surgical procedures.

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First autonomous navigation inside an organism (Medicine/Autonomous Catheters - 2019-04 -

Bioengineers led by Harvard Medical School and Boston Children’s Hospital describe a robotic catheter that can navigate autonomously. The catheter found its way along the walls of a beating, blood-filled heart to a leaky valve in an animal model, without a surgeon’s involvement. The device could eliminate the need for fluoroscopic imaging in these types of valve repairs, which exposes patients to ionizing radiation.

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Adding a virtual reality twist to robots in the operating room (Medicine - 2019-02 - TechCrunch)

Vicarious Surgical, A Massachusetts start-up, backed by Bill Gates and other high-tech company founders, is developing technology for remote surgery. A small robot will be inserted into a patient’s body, and controlled by a remotely-located surgeon using a virtual reality headset.

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The high cost of surgical robots makes implementation in the UK more difficult than in the US (Robotics - 2018-09 - American News)

A summary of the issues relating to the use of surgical robots from the robotics research wing of the UK’s Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. Differences in implementation are reviewed between the US’ private health system and the UK’s public National Health System.

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Innovative robotic technology to detect lung cancer earlier (Robotics - 2018-06 -

The Auris Health’s Monarch™ Platform lets specialists using a minimally-invasive endoscope see inside the lungs, obtain a tissue sample for biopsy, and enable earlier, more accurate diagnosis of small and hard-to-reach nodules in the periphery of the lung.

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The first robot-assisted spinal surgery is successful using Da Vinci robotic arms (Robotics/Surgery - 2018-05 - Engadget)

The University of Pennsylvania performed the first-ever robot-assisted spinal surgery, using Da Vinci’s robotic arms to remove a rare tumor where a spine meets a. The successful two-day operation involved neurosurgeons preparing the spine using ultrasonic cuts, and the robot clearing a path for removing the tumor through the mouth.

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Robot-assisted knee replacement surgery is coming (Robotics/Surgery - 2018-02 - ZDNet)

Johnson & Johnson announced the acquisition of French Orthotaxy, a developer of robot-assisted orthopedic surgery solutions, including for knee replacements, for which about 780,000 are performed in the US annually. There’s currently a rush to develop new robot-assisted surgical devices, in the areas of laparoscopy, pediatrics, and minimally-invasive surgeries on delicate tissues, such as the lungs.

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