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 Soft pop-up arm performing tissue counter-traction during an ex-vivo test on a porcine stomach, left. EM images of the hybrid soft pop-up actuators, below. The image has been coloured in post processing to differentiate between the soft (in yellow) and the rigid structure (in blue)

applied to the tissue and to give the surgeon a sense ofwhere the armis and howit’smoving. The fabricationmethod allows for bulkmanufacturing,which is important formedical devices, and allows for increased levels of complexity formore sensing or actuation. Furthermore, all materials used are biocompatible. The researchers have

demonstrated that the device can be scaled down to 1mm, whichwould allowit to be used in even tighter endoscopic procedures, such as in lungs or the brain.


motivate an attack by unscrupulous competitors. Bymanipulating safety

protocols, hackers could cause the robot to injure human operators, or to damage itself or the factory environment. Alternatively, attackersmight attempt to steal sensitive data fromthemachines themselves or the wider company network through remote access.

A technology fromRussia for obtaining luminescent ceramics whichmay become a cheaper alternative tomodern light sources is being developed. In the future such ceramics could replace LEDs or even significantly reduce the cost of production of automobile headlights. Ceramicmaterials are alsomore durable than existing light sources. Ceramicmaterials have a

range of thermal, electrical and mechanical propertieswhich allowtheir use in various fields, including electronics, radioelectronics, defence, oil & gas, nuclear industry, aerospace, automobile, aswell as in power

engineering andmedicine. For example, they canwithstand the cold of space to plasma temperatures in rocket nozzles. Now, a research teamfrom

Tomsk Polytechnic University (TPU) has obtained various types of luminescent and transparent ceramics (ie nanoceramics or luminophors) on a spark-plasma sintering unit (SPS) for powder materials. Ceramic powder is placed in a specialmouldwhich is conductive and capable of withstanding high temperatures

 Ceramic light sources, which can vary in glow colour, will be cheaper to produce than LEDs

and pressure casting. To sinter it quickly, the powder is heated by impulse current at the required temperature and simultaneously compressed. “Inmass production,

luminescent nanoceramic light sources cost less compared to modern LEDswith amore complex electronic structure,” said Professor Oleg Khasanov. “Depending on the composition of luminophor it is possible to obtain a variable spectrumof glow—white, blue, yellow, etc.”


Renishaw’s neuromate stereotactic robot recently featured in an episode of the BBC dramaHolby City. During the episode, neuromate assistswith the treatment of a patientwho suffers fromobsessive- compulsive disorder (OCD) and who undergoes a stereotactic deep brain stimulation (DBS) procedure. In the storyline, neurosurgeons

use advancedMRI technology and Renishaw’s neuroinspire software to identify the region of the brain responsible for generating the OCD symptoms. A carbothane neuroguide tube kit is used to create tracts for the insertion of thin and flexible specialist electrodes. Powered by a battery pack

implanted in the patient’s chest, the electrodes deliver a series of persistent electrical impulses to stimulate the symptom- generating region of the brain. DBS can have remarkable

therapeutic effects in the treatment of OCD and other neuro-disorders such as Parkinson’s disease. To be

 The neuroinspire software offers surgeons an easy-to-use platform

effective, the electrical stimulationmust be delivered at a high frequency, typically greater than 130Hz. Renishaw’s neuroinspire

software provides neurosurgeons with an easy-to-use platformfor

target identification and trajectory planning. The software fusesMRI and CT datasets into a 3D volume, enabling neurosurgeons to explore the best approach, avoiding key anatomy and blood vessels.

October 2017 /// Environmental Engineering /// 5

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