Micro-robots meet the public at the Royal Society’s Summer Science Exhibition 2023

Visitors to the Royal Society’s Summer Science Exhibition, 4th – 9th July, will be able to learn how new micro-surgical robotic systems are being developed that can operate within the human retina and other areas deep within the human body.

The exhibit, ‘Super-human capabilities in tiny spaces: micro-surgical robotics for eye surgery’ aims to showcase how we can improve surgical performance by developing smart robotic instrumentation.

Audiences will be shown how micro-robotics could be used for cutting-edge procedures including delivering regenerative STEM-cell therapies to restore sight to people with conditions such as age related macular degeneration.

Continuum robots move like an elephant’s trunk, can flex and alter their shape to avoid critical anatomical regions, and can control the position and orientation of their tip to mimic the dexterity of the human hand. These robots can reach the bottom part of the eye where they can transplant retinal cells to replace damaged ones, ultimately improving the dexterity of the surgeon.

As the robotic micro-surgeons need to operate within the confined space of the eye, one needs to think beyond conventional articulated robots that require large transmission systems and bulky interfaces. In such spaces, continuum robots offer the best compromise between size and dexterity.

The project is the latest outing for the School’s ongoing Hospital of the Future themed series of public experiences and exhibits, following on from the success of last year’s popular feature at New Scientist Live 2022.

The Royal Society’s annual Summer Science Exhibition is a free interactive experience featuring exhibits, talks and activities to showcase the latest advances in science and technology.


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Professor Gary Cook Awarded Roll of Honour

Professor Cook trained in radiology and nuclear medicine in London, completing his MD in Quantitative 18F-fluoride PET in Metabolic Bone Diseases at King’s College London.

He was appointed to the Chair of Molecular Imaging in the School of Biomedical Engineering and Imaging Sciences Cancer Imaging Department and KCL and Guy’s & St Thomas PET Centre and as an honorary consultant physician at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospitals in 2011.

Professor Cook currently leads a research group undertaking imaging trials including multicentre UK studies related to his research interests: novel functional imaging cancer biomarkers, development of radiomic methods and software, functional imaging of bone metabolism and bone metastases.

As a member of the BNMS for over 30 years, Professor Cook has been involved in working parties producing PET standards and a PET radiopharmaceutical manifesto. He has contributed to best practice guidelines for BNMS, European and US writing committees for breast, upper GI, prostate, and anal cancers.

The British Nuclear Medicine Society is the only independent forum devoted to all aspects of nuclear medicine in the UK. The BNMS Roll of Honour was established in 2017 to honour and remember those distinguished members who contributed to the history of nuclear medicine in the UK and to the BNMS. The Officers appoint to the BNMS Roll of Honour, a small number of highly distinguished members who have played significant roles in the history of the specialty.

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Professor Sebastien Ourselin elected as new Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences

Prof Ourselin has gained international recognition for his engineering contributions in medical image registration, segmentation and classification.

Over two decades, he has made major advances to imaging sciences, focusing on brain diseases and the robust translation of image analysis pipelines into clinical settings. His innovations have reached the clinic and commercialisation, especially in neurodegenerative diseases, neurosurgery, image-guided surgery and surgical simulation. He has been a leading advocate for healthcare engineering in the UK and globally, leading the development of the MedTech Hub at St Thomas’ Hospital, a transformative ecosystem enabling and facilitating medtech co-creation between academia, industry and the NHS.

Highlighting how the School’s mission of Engineering Better Health is closely aligned with that of the Academy of Medical Sciences, Prof Ourselin explained:

“The School of Biomedical Engineering & Imaging Sciences is advancing healthcare engineering research, teaching, and entrepreneurialism by bringing life-changing medical technologies to patients and clinicians faster.

“To do this we need to drive technical innovation and translation by building partnerships and breaking traditional disciplinary boundaries across education, R&D, hospital environments and MedTech companies and start-ups.

“This honour from the Academy of Medical Sciences not only reflects our ambition to innovate in the technical space of healthcare engineering research, but also celebrates how the translation of this cutting-edge research leads directly to life-changing diagnostics and interventional approaches for patients.”

Prof Ourselin joins 58 other influential biomedical and health scientists newly elected to the respected Fellowship. The new Fellows have been elected to the Academy of Medical Sciences in recognition of their exceptional contributions to the advancement of biomedical and health science, cutting edge research discoveries, and translating developments into benefits for patients and the wider society.

Other King’s fellows elected this year include:

  • Professor Peter Sasieni FMedSci, Director of Cancer Prevention Trials Unit, King’s College London
  • Professor Ulrike Schmidt FMedSci, Professor of Eating Disorders, King’s College London

Based in Central London, the Academy’s global mission is to help create an open and progressive research sector to improve the health of people everywhere. Its key strategic priorities include supporting researchers with funding and career development, and creating a more sustainable environment for delivering research.

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