Robotic Glossary: Healthcare Robotics Terminology

Dive into the lexicon of the future!’s glossary unravels the terminology transforming healthcare. From surgical robots and AI-powered diagnostics to the ethical considerations of human-robot interaction, explore the vocabulary that defines the ever-evolving landscape of healthcare robotics.

This glossary provides definitions for key terms you might encounter on, catering to a range of audiences interested in healthcare robotics.

General Robotics

  • Robot: A programmable machine capable of performing tasks autonomously or with human guidance.
  • End effector: The tool or gripper attached to the robot’s arm, designed for specific tasks.
  • Degrees of freedom (DOF): The number of independent movements a robot arm can make.
  • Artificial intelligence (AI): A branch of computer science focused on creating intelligent machines that can learn and make decisions.
  • Machine learning: A type of AI where algorithms learn from data without explicit programming.

Healthcare Robotics

  • Surgical robot: A computer-controlled robot used by surgeons to perform minimally invasive procedures.
  • Robotic-assisted surgery (RAS): A surgical procedure where a surgeon uses a robotic system to enhance precision and control.
  • Rehabilitation robot: A robot used to assist patients in regaining mobility and function after injuries or illnesses.
  • Telepresence robot: A mobile robot controlled remotely that allows healthcare professionals to interact with patients from afar.
  • Nursing robot: A robot designed to assist nurses with tasks like medication dispensing, patient monitoring, and transport.
  • Medical imaging robot: A robot used to assist in diagnostic imaging procedures like MRI or CT scans.

Other Important Terms

  • Minimally invasive surgery (MIS): A surgical procedure that involves small incisions, leading to faster recovery times and less tissue damage.
  • Biocompatibility: The ability of a material to be implanted into the body without causing harm.
  • Haptics: The technology of providing tactile feedback through a robot, allowing for a more natural user experience.
  • Robotics surgery system: The entire setup for robotic surgery, including the robot arms, console, and surgical instruments.
  • Autonomous robot: A robot capable of performing tasks without human intervention.

Surgical Robotics

  • Da Vinci Surgical System: A widely used robotic surgical system known for its four robotic arms and high-definition 3D visualization.
  • Laparoscopic surgery: A type of minimally invasive surgery that uses small incisions and laparoscopes for visualization.
  • Robotic arm: A mechanical arm of a surgical robot that allows for precise manipulation of surgical instruments.
  • Telerobotics: The use of robots controlled remotely, often applied in minimally invasive surgery.
  • Haptic feedback: Technology that provides the surgeon with a sense of touch while operating the robot arms.

Rehabilitation Robotics

Exoskeleton: A wearable robot that supports a person’s limbs and assists with movement.
Gait training robot: A robotic device used to help patients relearn walking patterns.
Neurorehabilitation robot: A robot specifically designed for rehabilitation after neurological conditions like stroke or spinal cord injury.
Assistive robotics: Robots designed to assist people with physical limitations in daily activities.
Virtual reality (VR): Technology that creates an immersive simulated environment used in some rehabilitation robots for therapy exercises.

Other Healthcare Robots

  • Pharmacy robot: A robot used in pharmacies to automate medication dispensing and distribution.
  • Disinfection robot: A robot equipped with UV light or other disinfectants for cleaning and sanitizing hospital surfaces.
  • Logistic robot: An autonomous robot used in hospitals to transport supplies, medications, or lab samples.
  • Social assistive robot: A robot designed to provide companionship and social interaction for patients, particularly in elder care settings.
  • AI-powered diagnostics: The use of artificial intelligence algorithms to analyze medical images or patient data to assist in diagnosis.

Additional Terms

  • Biomechanics: The study of the mechanics of the human body, relevant for designing robots for rehabilitation and assistive purposes.
  • Mechatronics: A field of engineering that combines mechanical, electrical, and computer engineering principles, crucial for robot design and development.
  • Human-robot interaction (HRI): The study of interaction between humans and robots, including communication, collaboration, and safety considerations.
  • Regulatory bodies: Organizations that establish safety and ethical guidelines for medical robots (e.g., FDA in the US, CE marking in Europe).
  • Cost-effectiveness analysis: The evaluation of the economic benefits and costs associated with implementing healthcare robots.

Emerging Technologies

  • Nanorobotics: The engineering of robots at the nanoscale (billionth of a meter), with potential applications in targeted drug delivery or cellular manipulation.
  • Microrobotics: The field of developing robots at the microscale (millionth of a meter) with potential uses in minimally invasive surgery or internal diagnostics.
  • Bioprinting: A 3D printing technique that uses biocompatible materials and cells to create living tissues or organs, potentially aiding in organ transplantation or tissue regeneration.
  • Soft robotics: A field of robotics focused on robots made from soft, flexible materials, allowing for safer interaction with humans and delicate tissues.
  • Swarm robotics: The coordination of multiple robots working together to achieve a common goal, with potential applications in search and rescue operations or surgical procedures.

AI and Machine Learning in Robotics

  • Machine vision: A type of AI that allows robots to interpret and analyze visual information from cameras or sensors.
  • Deep learning: A subfield of machine learning using artificial neural networks for complex pattern recognition, potentially used for robot-assisted surgery or tumor detection.
  • Robot autonomy: The ability of a robot to make decisions and perform tasks without constant human intervention.
  • Reinforcement learning: A machine learning technique where robots learn through trial and error, potentially used to train robots for specific surgical tasks.
  • Human-robot teaming: Collaboration between humans and robots, leveraging the strengths of each for complex tasks in surgery or rehabilitation.

Medical Ethics and Considerations

  • Robot ethics: A branch of ethics focused on the development, use, and impact of robots, particularly in sensitive healthcare applications.
  • Data privacy: The protection of patient data collected by healthcare robots and associated IT systems.
  • Algorithmic bias: The potential for bias in AI algorithms used in healthcare robots, leading to unfair or discriminatory outcomes.
  • The future of work: The impact of healthcare robots on job displacement in the healthcare sector and the need for workforce retraining.
  • Accessibility and equity: Ensuring access to healthcare robotics for all patients, regardless of socioeconomic background or geographical location.

Additional Terms

  • Collaborative robots (cobots): Robots designed to work safely alongside humans in shared workspaces.
  • Internet of Medical Things (IoMT): The network of interconnected medical devices that collect and share data, potentially integrated with healthcare robots for real-time monitoring.
  • Digital twin: A virtual model of a physical system, like a robot or patient, used for simulation, optimization, and training purposes.
  • Cybersecurity: Protecting healthcare robots and associated IT systems from cyberattacks and data breaches.
  • Telehealth: The use of telecommunication technologies for remote healthcare delivery, potentially involving robots for patient interaction or diagnostics.

The field of Healthcare Robotics is constantly evolving. Check back for new terms and updates to our glossary.