miniature camera swallowed as a capsule, microchip attached to the eye or exoskeletons: robotics and cutting-edge technologies are hard at work in the human body to diagnose, repair or heal
. overview of some of these futuristic techniques, already controlled by medicine but the generalization is often confronted with a problem of cost.
1. Camera swallowing
We remember the American film of the 60s, Fantastic Voyage, where a miniaturized submarine was traveling in a human body.
In the same vein, ” video-capsule “is a camera the size and shape of a pill. She swallowed with a glass of water. The aim is to explore the digestive tract. This capsule takes over 50,000 photographs during his inner journey to expulsion by natural means
Advantage. Unlike endoscopy, it requires no anesthesia. Hundreds of patients have already used in France. “The capsule works well,” says Jean-Christophe Saurin gastroenterologist (Hôpital Edouard Herriot, Lyon). Drawback: it costs about 600 euros each
2.. Electrodes see
Against retinitis pigmentosa, a genetic disease that causes blindness to 40 years, a high-tech solution, “bionic eye” is needed in the West.
L The idea is to artificially stimulate the eye with electrodes placed on the deficient retina to recreate the vision. More than 100 patients in the United States and Europe have already received these “artificial retinas.”
“There is ten, it seemed this is science fiction. Today is a reality, “said ophthalmologist Gerard Dupeyron (CHU de Nîmes). It takes 100 000 euros for a “bionic eye.”
3. Exoskeleton to walk
Several teams of engineers are developing robotic legs “exoskeletons” type (external skeletons) to enable the paralyzed to walk.
International Walk Again Project Researcher Brazilian Miguel Nicolelis shined during the coup dummy sending the 2014 World Cup given by a young paralyzed with a bulky exoskeleton controlled by brain activity.
In the United States, is the ReWalk first exoskeleton for personal use authorized by the federal agency FDA. Manufactured by an Israeli company, Argo Medical Technologies, it is not run by thought, but by a command and the user must accompany her on crutches.
The price? 70,000 dollars or more than 50,000 euros. “A prohibitive tariff” critical Handicap.fr the independent website.
4. Robots to the rescue of Surgeons
Articulated arms miniature remote-controlled by a surgeon assisted by computers: surgery today rhyme with high technology. Marc Simard, at the American University of Maryland, created a curious prototype articulated as an earthworm, to go destroy tumors difficult to achieve in the brain.
Other machines are already at work for a so-called “minimally invasive” surgery because it is capable of operating in making small incisions using instruments for remote-controlled mini-cameras articulated types of endoscopy.
endoscopists “is allow more and more things “with complications” still weak, “the medical specialist Geoffrey Vanbiervliet (CHU Nice). Latest feat: the French surgeons replaced heart valve without open, fully endoscopic
5.. Artificial pancreas
For many diabetics, bites are just a memory: the insulin pump has revolutionized their habits, single injection of insulin that mimics the normal functioning of the pancreas system <. br /> Worn on a belt, an electronic box with a supply of insulin and an injection system connected to the body through a tiny tube and a needle is used to deliver continuous and scalable way insulin.
In France, more than 35,000 diabetics already have access. New advanced: the continuous measurement of glucose with a device coupled to the pump, making it autonomous and automatic overall. A solution close to the artificial pancreas.
6. 3D printing life
Apply the principle of industrial 3D printers in the world of living things is the Holy Grail pursued several laboratories worldwide. The idea is layering thin layers of cells to reproduce tissues such as cartilage or liver or even whole organs, then the graft.
In the United States, the company is listed Organovo specializing in “design and manufacture of functional human tissues in 3D”, to test new drugs or to be implanted in the body.
In France, a laboratory INSERM in Bordeaux is also working on the creation of tissues by laser printing technology.