Trauma Pod Battlefield Medical Treatment System

DARPA has awarded a $12 million contract to develop an automated medical treatment system that can recieve, assess and stabilize wounded soldiers immediately following injury. The trauma pod is used to treat soldiers on the battlefield using advanced diagnostics and teleoperated instruments.

In the first step, the wounded soldier is loaded into the trauma-pod by fully automated machinery.


(Robotic 'stretcher' (left) brings soldier to pod)

Next, the soldier is given oxygen and is fully scanned, head to toe, with the information processed and ready for remotely-located surgeons to begin the work of triage and treatment.


(Automated full body scan)

Then, surgeons located safely off the battlefield use teleoperated instruments to perform necessary procedures to stabilize the patient. The trauma pod would also be equipped with gauze, medications and other necessary items.


(Telesurgery to remove bullets in left leg)

Finally, the pod is extruded out the top of the unit, where it is picked up by an evac helicopter, so the soldier can be taken to a field hospital for futher treatment.


(Didn't I see this VTOL craft in The Terminator?)

Science fiction writer Frank Herbert wrote about crechepods - fully automated trauma "pods" - in his 1972 novel The Godmakers:

A label on the crechepod identified the disrupted flesh inside as having belonged to an identity called Lewis Orne... The flesh in the pod bore little resemblance to the photo, but even in the flaccid repose of demideath, Orne's unguent-smeared body radiated a bizarre aura....

"Why'd you bother with the pod?" a medic asked. "This patient's vital tone is too low to permit operative replacement of damaged organs due to the energy drain of regrowth." (read more about crechepods)

Also, take a look at Larry Niven's autodoc from his Known Space novels.

SRI International believes that these treatment systems could be operational on the battlefield in ten to fifteen years. The core for the system will be the da Vinci robotic surgical system. This commercialized technology has about 300 installations around the world.

Read more at 'Trauma Pod' Robot to save soldier's lives on the battlefield and SRI to develop robots for battlefield medical care. See the trauma pod video.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 4/5/2005)

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