The precise positioning capable of robotics and their ability to analyze sensor feedback make them very appealing in precision needle placement inside the body. Precision needle placement is especially crucial for the cancer treatment of brachytherapy, where needles are used to precisely position small radioactive pellets inside the body.
Glove puncture during operations continues to be a concern, placing the physicians in danger of contracting blood borne illnesses such as HIV and Hepatitis C. Development of fundamental knowledge of how gloves fracture can help lead to improved materials and instruments to help prevent glove puncture from occurring.
There are a wide variety of instruments used in medicine that perform tissue cutting operations. Maximizing the cutting efficiency of these devices can allow greater efficacy in these procedures. Cutting geometry, cutting speed and cutting friction are being investigated to minimize the force necessary to cut tissues inside the body.
Deep brain stimulation (DBS) electrodes are now routinely being implanted for Parkinson's disease and clinical trials of DBS are ongoing for a range of neuro-cognitive and behavioral disorders such as obesity, over compulsive disorder and epilepsy. Healthy neural tissue is damaged along the electrode track upon insertion which can lead to cognitive impairment including damaging attention, memory, ability to understand language, problem solving and decision making. Also, the long term benefits of this procedure are hindered by neuronal damage leading to the return of symptoms. Probe insertion methods are being explored to limit the amount of damage to healthy neural tissue.