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12 Oct

A Device For Needles

A Device For Needles

A few years ago while I was being prepped for surgery, the nurse was having a hard time finding a vein.  After a while, she gave up and called in the anesthesiologist for assistance.  I’ve also had similar issues with my veins when donating blood.

 According to “Medical Robotics: To the Point,” an article from The Economist, problems with needles can become a thing of the past.  Page 74 tells of a portable ultra sound machine that can pin point veins for easier insertion.  Not only does the device find the vein, it also has a “robotic needle-dispenser to make placing a central venous catheter a push button affair.”

Interestingly, the operator uses a joy stick to “align a target icon over the vein.”  With a push of a button, in goes the needle.  “The system will not deploy the needle if it cannot sense a suitable vein at the target location.”

However, folks in the medical field won’t have to worry about a robot taking their job, because a human will still need to be present, just as humans run ultra sound machines today.

Can you imagine a day when we won’t have to worry about collapsed veins?  It is still sometime away. It hasn’t been tested on humans yet, and it takes years for the FDA to approve anything. Despite these facts, the anticipation and excitement of advancement in medical technology is beginning to build. 

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