New technology enables keyhole surgeons to 'feel'
A team of researchers from Leeds University in the UK have developed an innovative new technology which enables surgeons to ‘feel’ tissues and tumours during keyhole surgery.
The pioneering team have created a computer generated virtual operating environment, currently known as ‘Palpatronix’, which provides surgeons with sensory haptic feedback.
Pressure is applied to a handheld device, one of the main components of the new technology, in accordance to what the surgical devices are touching, therefore allowing surgeons to ‘feel’ what they are operating on.
There are now hopes the development will aid cancer surgeons during future keyhole procedures as feeling tumours can help them to determine if they are malignant or benign.
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While keyhole surgery is fairly beneficial for patients as it reduces the risk of complications and speeds up recovery, surgeons just have to rely on sight during procedures.
One of the students that developed the product, Earle Jamieson, said in a media interview: “Haptic devices that give users sensory feedback are becoming more common in surgery, but none of them quite match that true hands-on feeling.
“With our system, users can interact with the tissue they are operating on throughout the surgical procedure.”
Meanwhile, the project supervisor Dr Peter Culmer, commented: “Judging from the feedback the students have received from practising surgeons, this system has real, clinical potential.”
He added: “In the short-term, it could be used as a training tool to help surgeons get a feel for keyhole surgery – quite literally.
“Looking further ahead, systems such as this could become used in operating theatres on a daily basis.”
Microsoft launches Tech for Social Impact for elderly care
Microsoft Tech for Social Impact, the tech giant's division offering tools for non profit organisations, has announced it is expanding to include aged care non profits around the world.
This means that non profit organisations helping elderly residents in nursing homes or with other daily support will now be eligible for technology grants and discounts of up to 75%, as well as training and capacity building to help with digital transformation.
The care home sector has been one of the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, caring for some of the most vulnerable people in society. As a result organisations around the world have been deploying innovative technologies, such as IoT to create monitoring solutions that enable independent living, through to AI-driven robots that provide companionship as well as alert the user's care team if there are any changes to their symptoms.
The German Red Cross (DRK) is an early adopter that is already benefitting from this programme expansion as part of Microsoft Tech for Social's pilot scheme. DRK provides services and assistance to over 40,000 people at more than 500 aged care facilities in Germany, with a further 90,000 receiving care in their own homes.
Thanks to Microsoft 365 cloud technologies such as SharePoint and OneDrive, along with Teams for communication, DRK was able to continue its daily work even at the height of the pandemic crisis. Residents of DRK facilities used Teams to keep in touch with relatives despite restrictions to visits, and there are plans to continue using these channels in the future to prevent isolation among residents.
Following the pilot’s success, the programme will offer discounts and grants to eligible organisations for its Microsoft cloud stack including Business Applications, Azure and Modern Work, leveraging the firm's sector-specific tools with Microsoft Cloud for Nonprofit which will be generally available in the second half of 2021.
Microsoft estimate that around 75,000 new non profit organisations around the world will be eligible for the programme.