Extreme house calls

In spring 2006, U.S. and Canadian officials will test the advanced technologies needed to deliver remote medical assistance.

What happens when an astronaut moving heavy equipment to explore the moon's surface injures a leg? Even if no physician or surgeon is aboard the spacecraft, fellow crewmembers might soon be able to perform emergency surgery using remotely controlled surgical robots and a high-speed audio/video link to surgeons back on Earth.

In spring 2006, U.S. and Canadian officials will test the advanced technologies needed to deliver remote medical assistance as part of the next stage of the NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations (NEEMO) project.

In the upcoming NEEMO 9 drill, a surgeon in Toronto will communicate with astronauts aboard a seacraft submerged 62 feet below waters off the Florida coast and guide them through a simulated orthopedic surgery.

Conditions aboard the Aquarius seacraft are designed to mimic the extreme environment of space, but the exercise has even broader implications for telemedicine, which could be useful on battlefields and in remote rural areas where trained medical professionals are scarce.

"The goal is to reduce the burden on the person locally and allow the work to be done at a distance, to enable someone who is not trained at a specific task but is responding to an emergency in an extreme environment," said Dr. Mehran Anvari, director of the Centre for Minimal Access Surgery (CMAS) in Hamilton, Ontario. He was chief scientific officer for NEEMO 7.

NASA conducted that test last year with CMAS and the Canadian Space Agency. Next spring, NASA will launch the NEEMO 9 mission to probe deeper into certain aspects of telerobotics.

"NEEMO 7 was designed to address a central question we needed answered," said Gerry Moses, director of the Clinical Applications Division at the Army Medical Research and Materiel Command's Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center.

That question was: Can a relatively unskilled worker successfully care for a patient with the assistance of a skilled surgeon in another location?

The Army center is funding NEEMO missions because of the crucial role it expects telemedicine to play in battlefield operations.

During NEEMO 7, astronauts under Anvari's remote guidance successfully manipulated tissue extracted from a pig, demonstrating that telementoring is possible even under the most extreme circumstances.

However, scientists also uncovered weaknesses in the application. "A key problem in the last mission was the robotics, which were too bulky [because] they were not sized to fit the Aquarius," Anvari said. NEEMO officials are working with the manufacturer, SRI International, to explore the possibility of constructing a smaller, more portable robot for use during NEEMO 9.

During NEEMO 9, space officials will also address latency and jitter issues associated with the high-speed networks that power the mission's telerobotics and communications links.

Latency can't be eliminated entirely, so exploring its impact on the mission has become a central theme of NEEMO 9.

Essentially, NEEMO 9 is designed to bolster all aspects of performing remote surgery.

"Just being able to speak with someone does not mean you can help them perform surgery," Anvari said. "For us it is critical that we understand and tweak all aspects of the system."

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.