Forward to the present: a discussion of robotics in medicine
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Introduction: Mankind has long been fascinated with automatons in all their many forms. Machines now have applications in virtually every aspect of life and are changing the face of modern medicine. This thesis reviews briefly reviews the long and complicated history of machines in medicine and how they have shaped and continue to mold clinical practice. Methods: Sources were gathered from multiple databases. Primarily, PubMed, Springerlink, and Science Direct. Printed texts were also consulted as well as news articles. Images compiled for this article are either the work of the author otherwise cited. Data Synthesis: This history of robots in modern medicine is perhaps best conceived as beginning with the surgical arts. The perennial problems of surgery have always been bleeding, pain, and infection. Over the years, applications of robotics have served to enhance the capabilities of modern surgeons while minimizing the amount of trauma the patient endures during the procedure. The newest frontier in robotics is set to be perhaps nominally invasive. The creation of nanorobots allows physicians to monitor and treat patients at the cellular and molecular level. Conclusion: The rise of robotics in medicine has significant and far reaching impact on the wider social world. It dramatically alters economics, education and our relationship with energy resources. Further it forces medicine and humanity in general to redefine our role on the planet and consider the very nature of what makes us human. The future of medical robotics is perhaps the world of Asimov's dreams but also his nightmares.
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