Surgical procedures can be extremely invasive, requiring patients to undergo anesthesia and spend weeks or months recovering. But new technology could make surgeries easier for both patients and medical professionals.

Using an accordion-shaped robot in capsule form, a team at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory believe surgeons can conduct surgeries without cutting into a patient. Doctors would generate a magnetic field that would allow them to move the robot inside the patient. The patient would merely take the pill, then wait for it to dissolve, at which point the robot would use origami-type technology to expand to 35 mm by 17 mm by 7.6 mm. Currently, the technique would be ideal for removing swallowed objects or getting medication to an internal wound.

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Tuesday, 12 July 2016 00:00

Turning Machines into Crystal Balls

People have long relied on their instincts to anticipate the behavior of others. One such thought process might go like this: "Is now a good time to extend my arm for a handshake? Should I be the first to do so, since it looks like the other person is preparing for that, and I'd like to remain 'in charge' of this interaction by being the first to initiate action?"

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) recently announced that they have made a breakthrough discovery in what's known as predictive vision, or the ability to anticipate interactions. A computer system powered by an algorithm "can predict whether two individuals will hug, kiss, shake hands or slap five. In a second scenario, it could also anticipate what object is likely to appear in a video five seconds later," says a press release.

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If your child has ever swallowed something dangerous, you likely know the panic and medical intervention that follows. Retrieving small items like batteries often involves using an endoscope if the object hasn’t progressed past the esophagus. In many cases, though, parents merely wait for the object to pass through the digestive tract.

A new development from MIT could eliminate the stressful “wait and see” process. A team of researchers at the school has developed an origami robot that has the ability to retrieve small objects that have been swallowed. The robot has the ability to stick to a surface, then use built-in flippers to navigate its way through the body.

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