If you are diagnosed with stomach cancer in the early stages, getting back to full health may be as easy as swallowing a tiny crab. Well, not really a crab, and not really “swallowing,” either. But that is the general principle behind a new robotic device, developed in Singapore, that is able to grab cancerous tissue and pull it out of the body. The idea of removing cancer from the stomach without needing to cut open the body is revolutionary.
It’s not just anecdotal to say the robot looks like a crab. The story goes that inventors Lawrence Ho and Louis Phee came up with the idea after eating seafood and realizing how masterful crabs were at using their pincers to grab the most precise objects. The robot, which has similar pincers to grab the infected area, also contains a tiny camera that allows the surgeon to remotely operate the procedure.
To get into the patient, it goes down through their mouth and takes the same track that any other object would take to get to the stomach. If you can “stomach” that, then this procedure could be the next big thing in robotic surgery. It has already been used on upwards of five patients in Asia. At this point, it appears the crab-robot cancer-remover will be commercially available in around three years.