Surgical robots to move at CUHK's new center

Local | Jane Cheung 1 Feb 2019

A medical robotics center will be set up by the Chinese University of Hong Kong with help from other top global institutions.

There is an agreement to develop advanced imaging and robotic technology for medical purposes, which besides CUHK involves ETH Zurich, Imperial College London and Johns Hopkins University of the United States.

They will collaborate in the Multi-Scale Medical Robotics Centre at the Science and Technology Park in Sha Tin.

The Chinese University has applied for HK$700 million in government funding to operate the center for the first five years.

Robotics makes possible the use of surgical procedures and medical treatments that were previously out of reach. Innovative technology such as robotics will greatly enhance the use of minimally invasive surgery and also expand the possibilities for procedures.

"Ultimately, more people with diseases can be treated with a less invasive surgical approach," CUHK said, "and the aging population will benefit significantly."

The center will conduct three major research programs involving endoluminal diagnostics and therapeutics, magnetic-guided robotics and image-guided robotic interventions. Various medical specialties will be covered within the programs.

Zhang Li, an associate professor at CUHK's Department of Mechanical and Automation Engineering, introduced one robot that helps with endoscopic checks in the small intestine.

The endoscope can run through the entire small intestine using magnetic fields, which allow easy control of the device, Li said.

He added that with the use of the magnetic endoscope a procedure can be completed within 30 minutes - half of the time when conventional equipment is being used.

And places can be reached that have been beyond existing devices, "meaning it can check for more types of intestinal diseases," Zhang said.

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