The medical advancements the human race has made in the last 100 years or so are truly staggering. It’s difficult to believe that so many of things we now take for granted used in hospitals and even at home are relatively new inventions. So where does the future of medicine lie? Here are just a few of the possibilities…
3D printing is still relatively in its infancy despite being around since 1983. However, it’s now starting to have some incredibly useful real-world applications (rather than just being used to make pizza). 3D printing is now being used in the medical industry and scientists have actually been able to print organs and tissue using a special gel made from human cells. Artificial bones have also been printed, with one man receiving a whole new jawbone that acted just like the real thing.
Part of the 2030 Home Life Report, Dr Mirror is an amazing looking piece of kit, although how feasible it is could be up for debate! It claims that it’s like having a GP in your bathroom, with different pieces of equipment scanning you and discretely gathering information before sharing it with your GP. It will also dispense advice on how to keep healthy and even give you discounts on healthy ingredients. Sounds a little ‘1984’ but it could be revolutionary.
Nanotechnology isn’t exactly new anymore, but its uses are becoming more and more widespread all the time. This article claims that microscopic nanorobots the size of bacteria could be put inside your body and then do a multitude of different tasks. For example, they could act as artificial white cells, tracking down germs and viruses and killing them before they can do harm.
What makes this even more interesting is that the treatment would only take a few hours, meaning the bacteria wouldn’t have time to develop immunity as is the case with many current antibiotics.
There’s also the possibility that the nanorobots could perform surgery on specific cells, replacing diseased or damaged material with new material. Potentially very exciting indeed.
Contact lenses for treating diabetes
Jin Zhang, Chemical and Biochemical Engineering professor at the University of Western Ontario, has developed an amazing set of contact lenses that eliminate the need for diabetics to draw blood to test their blood/sugar levels. Instead, the lenses react with glucose molecules in tears to change the colour of the eye to indicate high or low levels. A blood/sugar level test would be as simple as looking in the mirror.
This might seem a little creepy and something from a science fiction novel, but artificial wombs could be a thing of the future. Tanks filled with amniotic fluid will house the foetus, whilst the umbilical cord will be hooked up to machines that regulate the amount of nutrients it receives. This could revolutionise how we care for premature infants and help women who cannot carry pregnancies to full term.
Robotic medical assistants have been around for a while now but robotic doctors are the next level of healthcare. Instead of visiting a clinic or hospital, a person could be examined by an automated robotic doctor with artificial intelligence (AI). These robots will be able to diagnose conditions and provide treatment suggestions based on their analysis of the patient’s medical records and symptoms. The use of AI could also mean that these robots are more accurate than human doctors.
Robots are already being used in surgeries, but they could soon become an even more integral part of the medical world. Robot-assisted surgeries can offer greater precision and less risk to patients than traditional methods. They also require minimal human intervention, so operations can be completed faster with fewer mistakes. Robotic surgery will also open up new possibilities for remote surgeries, where a surgeon can operate on a patient located in another part of the world.
Robots will be able to use advanced imaging and scanning technologies to accurately identify problems within the body without patients having to undergo invasive procedures. These robots would also be able to quickly analyze data from scans and provide actionable recommendations to medical staff.
Robots could be used to deliver targeted therapeutic interventions with pinpoint accuracy. This could reduce the need for open surgeries and minimize damage that may occur during traditional treatments. They can also be programmed to perform complex procedures, such as physical therapy, which would allow patients to receive individualized treatment in a more timely and cost-efficient manner.
Robots can also be used to provide remote medical help. This could enable medical professionals from different parts of the world to collaborate on complex cases and offer patients access to specialized care that would otherwise not be available. In addition, robots could allow doctors to monitor patients remotely and provide them with the necessary treatments while avoiding the risk of potential contagion. This could be especially beneficial in areas where there is a shortage of medical personnel or resources, such as developing countries.
Finally, robots can be used to automate mundane tasks associated with medical care, such as patient monitoring, drug dispensing, and data collection, freeing up medical personnel to focus on higher-level care. This could significantly improve the quality of patient care and reduce costs associated with treatment.
Overall, robots can be used in a wide range of applications in the medical field, from providing remote health support to taking over mundane tasks so that healthcare providers can better focus on delivering high-quality care to their patients. Ultimately, robots have the potential to revolutionize healthcare by making it more accessible and efficient for all of us.
With the right implementation and development, robotic technology can play an integral role in the medical field and help improve patient outcomes. It is essential that we continue exploring ways to use robotics in medicine in order to create a safer, more efficient and cost-effective healthcare system.