Robots Swiftly Entering The Mainstream

Robot Assisted Surgery More Accurate Than Conventional Surgery:

A new study from Imperial College London shows that robot assisted knee surgery is significantly more accurate than conventional surgery.

The robotic assistant, Acrobat, significantly improves surgeons accuracy during knee surgeryThe team of surgeons tested whether Acrobot, a robotic assistant, could improve surgical outcomes for patients undergoing partial knee replacement. Acrobot works by helping the surgeon to line up the replacement knee parts with the existing bones.

The surgeons looked at 27 patients undergoing unicompartmental knee replacement. The patients were separated into two groups as part of a randomised controlled trial, with 14 having conventional surgery, and the remaining 13 having robot assisted surgery.

Although the operations took a few minutes longer using the robotic assistant, the replacement knee parts were more accurately lined up than in conventional surgery. All of the robotically assisted operations lined up the bones to within two degrees of the planned position, but only 40 percent of the conventionally performed cases achieved this level of accuracy.

The team found there were no additional side effects from using robot assisted surgery, and recovery from surgery was quicker in most cases.

Toy Makers Hawk Robotic Playmates:

With young consumers growing out of toys faster and preferring iPod digital music players and video games, the nation’s toy makers are working harder to come up with more high-tech products, particularly robotic playmates.

Such robotic toys, which are even more lifelike than a year ago, are among the thousands of toys to be featured at American International Toy Fair, officially beginning Sunday.

This year’s robotic lineup includes a life-sized miniature pony that responds to touch, a Barbie doll that follows the child’s dance moves and a robot made from a Lego building set that can be programmed.

“Children are migrating to consumer electronics faster than toy companies can take them there,” said Sean McGowan, a toy analyst at Harris Nesbitt. He expects the industry to report a sales decline of up to 4 percent in traditional toys for 2005,

The good news is that as microchips have come down in prices, toy makers are able to make more advanced toys that are still affordable. At least 75 percent of the toys at this year’s event will have some sort of microchip in them. Watching how parents spent more than $200 on iPods for their children has given toy makers more confidence in offering higher-priced toys packed with high-powered technology.

Other new robotic toys to be featured at the industry event include:

  • Amazing Allysen from Playmates Toys Inc., a companion doll to last year’s Amazing Amanda, a surprise hit last holiday season. The new doll, aimed at an older girl ages 9 and 10 years old, recognizes and responds to key words and phrases with lifelike facial expressions and real emotions.
  • Cuddle Chimp, from Hasbro, the latest in the company’s FurReal Friends collection responds to touch by snuggling into the owner’s arms and emits happy sounds.
  • Roboreptile, the latest robotic pet from WowWee Ltd., which boasts even more advance sensor technology from last year’s Roboraptor. Such advancements allow the creature to move more quickly and to avoid obstacles that get in its way.

Also see Robots Are Becoming More Like Humans.

One thought on “Robots Swiftly Entering The Mainstream

  1. Dr.John

    I’m waiting for the robot toy that does kneee surgery on barbie dolls. It can be called ” robot doctor”. It also should do brain surgery.
    When I was a kid we had a pile of kindling, remember kindling, to build stuff out of and we were as happy as can be. The world sure has change. Kids haven’t though. My grandkids spent more time playing in the big boxes their overpriced toys came in than theydid with the toys. Boxes still make great trains.

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