By Lenny Pierce
It’s not often that you meet a medical doctor/aerospace technician, but that’s just what NASA hopes to make out of its ever versatile Robonaut 2 (R2). Already designed to perform maintenance on the space station, R2 is now being “taught” to perform medical procedures as well. The hope is that by controlling R2 from Earth, surgeons who can’t make a house call to the space station could still attend to sick or injured astronauts remotely.
Dr. Zsolt Garami of the Houston Methodist Research Institute is currently administering R2′s crash course in medicine. From a training perspective, Dr. Garami says he is able to accomplish more with R2 in an hour than he can with his human students in a week. This means that the next time your know-it-all buddy in med school talks about some lab study he nailed, you can remind him how much faster R2 could have done it. All tests were done using the ground version of R2, which is completely identical to the one currently aboard the space station.
The video below shows R2 performing an ultrasound and an injection on a dummy that looks like it was modeled after King Tut’s coffin.
Since the medical resources …read more