Here's one in the plus column for the looming robot uprising: a prototype developed by University of Maryland professor Jaydev Desai could one day diagnose, hunt, and destroy breast cancer cells all in one sitting, and in a much more efficient manner than we ham-handed human beings.
The beauty of this prototype is that it can work inside an MRI thanks to its titanium and stainless steel construction. Everything from biopsy, to diagnosis to cancer-hunting is all completed within the MRI, making for a convenient one stop trip for patients.
The robot kills cancer cells by way of a probe that is inserted into the breast until it reaches the tumor. The probe then burns the cells until they're all dead. Researchers say the robot, if successfully deployed into the medical field, could consolidate three months of hospital trips into a single visit. Better yet, the robot will also be able to access parts of the human body that human surgeons can't, although researchers didn't elaborate much on that point.
Unfortunately, the robot is a prototype, and trials are estimated at four years out, if they happen at all. "We're not just governed by technology," said said Rao Gullapalli, a collaborator on the robot from the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore. "We're governed by bureaucracy as well." [Diamondback Online via Slashdot]