Researchers based out of the University of Sheffield are developing a new telepresence system that will allow trained medical personnel to safely provide life-saving treatment to soldiers while in combat. First reported by Engadget, the system features a unique combination of VR technology, haptics, and advanced robotics.
Using a VR headset and haptic glove, medical personnel can remotely observe a patient’s condition on the battlefield, including their blood pressure and temperature. They can even take mouth swabs, obtain blood samples, and perform medical triage using the latest in robotic surgery technology.
“Developing a remotely-operated robotic system would significantly improve safety by reducing the amount of danger military personnel are exposed to on the frontline,” said Project Lead Professor Sanja Dogramadzi from the University of Sheffield’s Department of Automatic Control and Systems Engineering in an official release. “Our platform uses the latest technology and would integrate it in a way that hasn’t been done before. We are excited to lead on this research and share how the technology could be used in active service.”
“The MediTel project aims to help defence and security medical personnel remotely triage and treat casualties,” added David King, head of digital design at the University of Sheffield AMRC. “MediTel will reduce the risk to medical personnel by limiting their exposure to potential hazards while providing an improved chance of survival for the casualty.”
We’ve seen our fair share of VR-controlled robots in the past, from VR convenience store employees to a remote-controlled bomb squad bot. That said, this is the first we’ve heard of VR-powered medical robots.
Not only could this technology reduce the time it takes to treat wounded soldiers on the battlefield, but it could also improve the safety of trained medical professionals by removing them from potentially dangerous combat scenarios.
The project is being developed by the University of Sheffield’s Department of Automatic Control and Systems Engineering and Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) with funding from the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory and Nuclear Decommissioning Authority through the Defence and Security Accelerator. Additional support was provided by I3DRobotics and Emergency Medicine clinical consultants.
For more information check out the official report from the University of Sheffield.
Feature Image Credit: University of Sheffield