Current laparoscopic surgical robots are expensive, bulky, and fundamentally constrained by the small entry incisions. A potential new approach to minimally invasive surgery is to place the robot completely within the patient. We have developed several such miniature mobile robots and conducted tests during animal surgeries. These robots can provide vision and task assistance to the surgeon without being constrained by the entry port. We used a mobile biopsy and camera robot to sample hepatic tissue from an anesthetized porcine animal model. This successful test demonstrated the capability of performing a single port laparoscopic biopsy procedure. In the future, a family of such robots could be remotely controlled and used to perform surgical procedures without the need for conventional laparoscopic tools.

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