The first annual European Robotics Week (ERW) will take place from 28 November-4 December. The goal of the celebration will be to promote awareness about the advances in robotics, and how beneficial they can be for the European public.
Robotics are expected to create over 1 million worldwide jobs in the coming years, so the goal of ERW is to promote younger Europeans to seek jobs in robotics, or learn about the roles that robots play in daily life. The headline of the week will be at the Science Museum in London, which will display 20 unique robots as part of its Robotville Festival. While promoting robotic awareness, the EU will hope for the ERW to help foster growth within Small and Medium Enterprises(SME), which account for a substantial portion of the industry.
As if to highlight the importance of the ERW, the field of neuroscience has achieved a remarkable milestone in terms of robotic surgery. EU funded researchers from Germany, Italy, Israel, and the UK have, under the umbrella of the ROBOCAST project, have finished a robot that will give the neurosurgery field two advantages over human surgeons. The robot offers 13 different types of movement, compared to a humans 4 types, while also providing haptic feedback, or the physical cues which allow surgeons to precisely determine how much force is necessary to cut into tissue during surgery. Most notably, the robots have been applied in the extremely precise field of keyhole neurosurgery, only on dummies for the time being. Keyhhole surgery is an extremely complex and stressful procedure which involves inserting a probe into a tiny hole in the skull, and manipulates tissue, or collects blood or other fluids. With the robots' precision, millions of Europeans afflicted with tumours, Parkinson's disease, or Tourette's syndrome could be aided. “ If any activity requires precision, it's neurosurgery, so I am delighted this EU-funded research is helping surgeons and patients to be safer”, said Commissioner for the Digital Agenda Neelie Kroes. “If we can cut waiting lists and deliver better results for patients as Europe''s population ages, I think EU-funded technology projects like this will pay us back many times over.” The next step in this process will come in the form of a follow up project known as ACTIVE, which will begin parallel research on operating on patients while they are still awake.