There are many advantages to having a robot in surgery. For one, they do the same thing over and over again and their arms never get tired. So, who designs those high tech helpers? They are born in the field of bio-medical engineers professionals who combine the complicated sciences of engineering, biology and medicine. A trip to one of those classrooms at the New Jersey Institute of Technology where students are learning to design robotic procedures.
"They have to understand the read medical background for surgery. They have to begin to learn the engineering concepts and they have to learn a certain amount of biology and how they deal with organic material," says Professor Richard Foulds a Ph.D. at New Jersey Institute of Technology.
That's where the fun begins. These contraptions clearly can't operate on living things, so students use an organic substitute.
"They will perform amniocentesis on a jelly donut. They would reattach the amputated tip of a hot dog. They could put a new link between two arthritic sausages,"says Foulds
This team's robot uses Legos, a stapler and a soda can to remove cancerous tissue-a dough ball-from inside a patient made of jello. The results aren't always pretty, but the project gets students thinking creatively and teaches them teamwork.
"We're actually taking all these pieces, putting them together, making it do something that's practical and then documenting it. It's just to se it all grow. It's amazing really," says Gloria Portocarrero.
The lid on a cup stands in for a skull as this team tackles a brain tumor.
"You're getting something done while playing. So I just have a lot of fun being like a big kid in college,"says Nishant Vyas.
" We want them to get a feel for the whole design process for why what they're designing really wouldn't work in the real world and begin to evaluate what they have to learn in their next four years of classes." an unforgettable and edible way to learn.and edible way to learn," says Foulds.
Professor Foulds pioneered this engineering program and has been awarded several grants to pursue the project.