The future of medicine is apparently opening your mouth wide and letting a snakelike robot take it from there. At least, that’s what Howie Choset of Medrobotics and inventor of Flex Robotic System is hoping.
The robot does not operate autonomously. Instead, a doctor positions the snake in a patient’s mouth and controls the device with a “joystick-like controller,” as well as “lasers, graspers, and other instruments,” Bloomberg reports. (Oh, gamified surgery! Fun!) With the help of the robot, doctors will be able to perform surgeries in traditionally hard-to-reach places with minimal invasiveness and “remove otherwise inoperable tumors and reduce the need for radiation treatment for certain cancers.” Of course, you have to be okay with that whole doctor-shoving-a-robotic-snake-down-your-unconscious-throat thing.
Maybe snake bot will befriend my other favorite piece of 2016 medical robot technology: meat robot. Designed by a team at MIT, the tiny, swallowable bot’s meaty exterior dissolves when it hits the stomach, revealing a robot doctors can use to navigate foreign objects (think swallowed batteries) out of the body. Isn’t technology great?