June 15, 2007 — Officials at Luna Innovations recently announced an agreement with Intuitive Surgical Inc., the world's only maker of surgical robots.
Luna is tapping into a trend known as minimally invasive surgery, in which doctors use tiny instruments inserted through small incisions in a patient.
In more than 90 percent of cases, the procedure is done manually, and the surgeon manipulates the instruments with the aid of a tiny camera inserted into the patient.
The robotic alternative involves use of the da Vinci surgery system, made by Luna's new business partner, which lets surgeons give commands to a computer instead.
With today's da Vinci technology, the medical team sees inside the patient via a tiny camera on the tip of a fiber-optic cable. Luna's device will enhance the performance of the surgical system by providing doctors and nurses more information about where surgical tools are within a patient's body.
Luna's device uses a fiber-optic cable that includes three separate glass threads, called cores, arranged in a triangle. Along those cores are spaced tiny embedded sensors that can determine how much and where each core is bending. A computer takes that information and determines the exact location of the end of the probe.
For more information: www.lunainnovations.com