The technology and expertise developed to build the first Canadarm not only paved the way for its descendants, Canadarm2 and Dextre, that are in great part responsible for the successful assembly and operating of the International Space Station, it also translated into new technology for the operating room.
The Centre for Surgical Innovation and Invention turned to Canadarm technology to develop IGAR (Image-Guided Autonomous Robot), a promising platform offering one stop diagnosis and treatment for patients with a high risk of breast cancer. Thanks to its delicate and precise touch, the robot will be able to perform biopsies with pinpoint accuracy, analyze them and treat early tumours without open surgeries.
Currently undergoing clinical trials, IGAR is one of the first robots of its kind designed to work inside an MRI scanner that can show the size and location of tumours more accurately than a mammogram or ultrasound scan. The platform will also help in detection and treatment of lung, liver, kidney and prostate cancers, and might also be used for delicate spinal surgeries.
Credit: Canadian Space Agency
Canadarm Web page: http://www.asc-csa.gc.ca/eng/canadarm/
Centre for Surgical Innovation and Invention Website: http://www.csii.ca/robotic_development/igar