MIT snake robot might be terrifying but it can save lives
Medicine has come a really long way and robots in this industry are not a novelty. Even so, the MIT snake robot is something not many people would like to have crawling in their heads. But that is what the snake-like robot is meant to do. The researchers at Massachusets Institute of Technology developed the device that would actually crawl in the brain in order to treat the immediate symptoms of strokes and aneurysms. What the awful-looking robot does is basically to clear the blood clots in the brain. The robot doesn’t just go wherever it wants to, it is controlled magnetically by professionals.
The current procedure also involves devices inserted in the patient’s brain, however, at this point, there are catheters manually threaded by surgeons. It is a procedure that proved to be quite efficient, however, there is always something better and the MIT snake robot might be the one to reduce the length of the procedure, which is really important as in these cases time is of the essence and even seconds can make a difference. The snake robot is a lot easier to control and safer to use, basically. Also, it is smaller than catheters, so it can get to areas of the brain where no one could go with a catheter before.
“Stroke is the number five cause of death and a leading cause of disability in the United States. If acute stroke can be treated within the first 90 minutes or so, patients’ survival rates could increase significantly,” says Xuanhe Zhao, associate professor of mechanical engineering and of civil and environmental engineering at MIT. “If we could design a device to reverse blood vessel blockage within this ‘golden hour,’ we could potentially avoid permanent brain damage. That’s our hope.” So, as gross as a snake robot might sound, it is definitely a step toward saving lives and improving the quality of survivors’ lives.